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Full text of "The life and adventures of Robin Hood"

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Thomas Q. Lempertz 












Uniform with this Volume. 



j|HIS story is designed for the amusement of 
young persons. The incidents are drawn 
chiefly from the Robin Hood ballads ; but 
many of the writer's own invention have 
been introduced. When the book was undertaken, 
the author was aware that no story of the life of 
the rover of Sherwood had been written specially 
for the class of readers alluded to, and he hopes that 
he may not have altogether failed in supplying satis- 
factorily the want which he supposed to exist. 

In the ballads, Robin Hood is represented as brave, 
courteous, generous, and religious; withal he was a 
robber. It was, however, the age that made the man. 
Kings and prelates in those days filled their coffers 
by acts as grossly wrong as those by which Robin 


replenished the stores of himself and band. Robin 
was in all likelihood driven to the course of life he 
adopted, more by the tyranny and wrong-doing of 
those in authority, than by a natural love of the life 
which he led. He strove against the oppression from 
which he and others suffered, and, in doing so, was 
forced to a certain extent to use oppression ; but it 
was those only who were guilty of the oppression 
whom he punished. 

The incidents have been threaded together by a 
slender plot ; and no attempt has been made to de- 
velop the characters of the principal actors. 

The author's thanks are due to Mr Gee, for the 
loan of many rare books, and to Mr J. H. Welch, 
for assistance rendered in the course of revising for 
the press. 



Gamewell Hall, and the Gamewells The Feast, and the Friends 
who met Ivy Harper's song The Attack from the Foresters 
The Fight Death of Ivy Harper, . 1 


The Besieged avenge Harper's Death His Burial in the Forest 
Friar Goodly returns to Narrowflask Abbey the Friar's sur- 
prise at finding his Theft discovered The Abbot's Sentence 
Robin on his way to Gamewell meets Marian in the Forest 
The Greenwood Glen," .18 


Marian, Robin, and Will slay a Buck in the Forest On their 
return they meet with Gammer and Gruff, and have a serious 
Fight The Rovers conquer the Foresters, and make them 
carry the Buck's Hide to Gamewell, 34 


Robin is suddenly summoned home His Father's Death The 
Barbed Arrow Friar Goodly's penitential Psalm-siriguxt;-- 



Robin's Mother dies The Burial of Robin's Parents The 
Attack upon Speedswift Robin shoots the Sheriff of Notting- 
ham They burn Speedswift, and retire to Gamewell, . 5 1 


Gammer elected Sheriff of Nottingham His cruel treatment of the 
Saxons Robin visits Nottingham The Shooting Match at 
Mansfield Robin and Will slay four Foresters, . .69 


The Sheriff's Expedition in Search of the Rebels The Gamewell 
Fight Night Attacks upon the Besiegers The last Fight 
Destruction of Gamewell Death of Roger Gamewell Arrival 
of Robin and his Party at the Greenwood Glade, . . .86 


The Forest-Home of the Rovers Robin chosen Leader Alan dis- 
covered in the Forest A Love Story and Adventure Robin 
ducks the one-eyed Porter, 102 


The Bishop of Hereford and Abbot Scaregrace A Droll Marriage 
Ceremony The Baron and the Bishop have a Dance A 
Midnight Adventure Robin and Alan retreat in safety to 
Sherwood 118 


Two Kings visit Nottingham Robin and John Little have a Fight 
upon a Bridge Baptism of Friar Goodly, John Little, Hard- 
lock, and the Miller's Son Baron de Younglove prepares au 
Expedition to capture Robin Hood, 137 


The Baron releases a poor Prisoner Unexpected Appearance of 
Robin's Band Robin throws off his Disguise and captures the 
Baron Trial and Punishment of the Offenders The Story 
told by the Runaways in the Valley, 155 




The Marriage of Sheriff Gammer Robin's Adventure with the 
Potter Robin sells Pots in Nottingham Lives with the 
Sheriff Brings the Sheriff into the Forest Capture of the 
Brothers Cobble, 1 72 


The Trial and Sentence of the Cobbles Theii Rescue by Robin 
Hood The Bishop of Hereford's Visit to Dale Abbey Robin 
captures the Bishop, and makes him Dance in his Boots, . 190 


Robin's Encounter with David of Doncaster The Shooting Match 
at Nottingham Robin carries off the Prize The Sheriff's 
Stratagem Capture of a notable Prisoner, .... 208 


Little John and the Brothers Cobble go in search of an Adventure 
Marian, Ellen, and the Friar play them a Trick Little 
John and his Companions are twice beaten, .... 225 


Robin meets with Sir Richard of the Lea He is entertained in the 
Forest, and borrows ^400 The Abbot of St Mary's The 
Knight repays the Abbot his Loan, . . , . 240 


Little John goes to a Shooting Match at Nottingham, and enters 
into the Sheriff's Service The chief Members of the Sheriffs 
Household Tearem watches over Bucket all Night Little 
John helps himself to Dinner, and has a Fight with the Cook 
They steal the Plate, and join Robin Hood The Sheriffs 
Entertainment in the Forest, ...... 256 


Death of Henry II. Robin visits Nottingham in the guise of a 
Butcher ; and the Sheriff visits Sherwood The Adventure 
with the two Monks of St Mary's Abbey, . . . .275 



Sir Richard raises the Money borrowed from Robin Hood His 
Journey delayed by a Wrestling Match Bucket leads a force 
into the Forest, 293 


Bucket's Return to Nottingham Robin resolves to sell his Plate 
The Sheriff is invited to Lea Castle, and buys his own Plate 
The Discovery of the Fraud The Sheriff attempts to capture 
Lea Castle, 312 


Another Shooting Match at Nottingham Little John is wounded, 
but escapes to Lea Castle The Sheriff demands the Surrender 
of Little John Sir Richard captured by the Sheriff Rescue 
of the Knight by Robin Hood, 330 


.Robin's Adventure with two Monks A Prayer Meeting in the 
Forest Robin meets with the Curtail Friar The Hounds 
drive Friar Tuck and Firepan into the Tree Robin contri- 
butes towards the Release of King Richard, .... 347 


King Richard visits Nottingham, and goes into Sherwood His 
Meeting with Robin He pardons Robin, and they enter 
Nottingham together Robin and his men are installed in 
the Castle The Death of Richard The Discovery of the 
Branded Arrow, and Death of Gammer, .... 367 


Robin quarrels with Little John, and attends Mass In Notting- 
hamThe Black Monk betrays Robin The fight in the 
Church, and Robin's capture Little John and Will slay the 
Black Monk The trick they played upon the Sheriff, his 
men, and the jailer Robin's release, 391 

Will's Visit to Nottingham His Betrayal by Senior Sneak 



Threeheads, the Messenger, is unwittingly the Betrayer of a 
Secret Capture and Death of the Traitor How Will was to 
have been hung, but Inluck got a Roll in a Ditch instead, . 410 


The Bishop of Hereford ventures into Sherwood Forest again 
He chases Robin Hood, and captures Widow Hardlock The 
old Woman is released, and the Bishop taken prisoner How 
the Bishop was treated Robin is obliged to disperse his 
Band, and takes Sanctuary, 427 


Robin in Sanctuary at Kirklees He takes the Vows of a Penitent 
His Journey and Adventures at Scarborough Little Robby 
Reft Robin captures a French Vessel of War, . . . 446 


Little John and Will take part in a Shooting Match, and go into 
the Forest Robin meets with his Band again Little John is 
Captured by the Sheriff Robin slays Sir Guy of Gisborne 
Release of Little John Inluck creates a Panic at midnight 
amongst the Soldiers, 463 


Robin and Will capture some Treasure belonging to the King 
Sir William Boldheart undertakes to capture Robin The 
Forces meet in the Forest A long and terrible Fight Death 
of some of Robin's Leaders, 479 


Robin and his Band receive the King's Pardon Little John and 
Friar Tuck go to the Castle of Sir Richard of the Lea The 
Friar's Death Ellen and Alan return to the Dale Robin 
and Marian go up to London Their Return to Sherwood 
Marian's Death, 494 

Death of Robin Hood and Little John, ..... 504 



Gamewell Hall, and the Gamewells The feast, and the friends who 
met Ivy Harper's song The attack from the foresters The 
fight Death of Ivy Harper. 

JAMEWELL HOUSE was a two-storied 
building of timber, which stood within the 
boundary of Sherwood Forest. For several 
generations it had been the residence of 
the Gamewells, the descendants of a noble Saxon 
family, who at one time possessed several hundreds 
of acres of forest and pasture-lands, farmed by de- 
pendents, who paid rent in the shape of cattle and 
food, and, when the Great House, as Gamewell was 
called, was threatened by any hostile forces, were 
expected to assist in repelling the assailants. 


The conquest of England by William resulted in a 
free distribution of the territorial possessions of many 
of the Saxon nobility amongst his own leaders, and 
one of these stripped the old Saxon nobleman of the 
major portion of his land and dependents ; but the 
house itself escaped the general confiscation, simply 
because it was deemed unworthy of being the resi- 
dence of a Norman baron. Retaining therewith only 
a few acres in the neighbourhood, the Gamewells 
from that time subsisted on the fruit of the soil, and 
what game the forest afforded them. 

The Norman had built a castle about eight miles 
from Gamewell, and found enough trouble in manag- 
ing his ill-gotten land and villains, without subjecting 
the poor Saxon he had robbed to further molestation 
and injustice. With a magnanimity equally char- 
acteristic, he compounded with the Saxon lord for 
allowing him to retain his mansion and a few acres, 
on the condition of the annual payment of a few 
hogs, to be delivered at appointed seasons of the 
year, and a specified number of hides and rushes for 
domestic use, besides a certain quantity of provender 
for cattle. From the position of a landowner of con- 
siderable extent, the Saxon was thus reduced to a 
state of vassalage, exceedingly galling to his pride. 
Opportunities, however, were constantly occurring for 
petty displays of his independence through the tem- 
porary absence of the baron on some predatory 
expedition on the king's account, when Gamewell 
invariably refused to send in his contribution of hogs 
and provender; and as the barons, fortunately for 


him, were constantly getting killed, he lived to see 
several successive proprietors of his lands. 

The antipathy he exhibited towards his Norman 
conquerors was inherited by his descendants, until it 
became the occupation of the Norman landowner, 
when not engaged in the king's service, to punish 
the Gamewell family, stealing their cattle, burning 
their house, and driving them into the forest, where 
they found plenty of game to eat and pure water to 
drink, so long as the baron remained ; but they invari- 
ably returned when he was absent, and rebuilt their 

In 1173, the male representative of the Saxon 
nobleman was Roger Gamewell, whose wife had 
died under the hardships of a severe winter in the 
forest, leaving an only child behind her called Will. 

This Gamewell, by a politic present of smoked 
bacon, in addition to the usual contribution of hogs, 
had so far ingratiated himself with Baron Holdhard 
that he obtained permission to add to his estate a 
whole acre of ground belonging to his neighbour, a 
churlish vassal, whom the baron desired to punish. 
Roger took advantage of this gracious condescension 
not only to seize the land, but also to repair and for- 
tify his own residence. 

The house occupied one side of a square piece of 
ground, round which a deep broad trench had been 
dug and filled with water, the earth being thrown up 
on the inner side, so as to form a rampart round the 
whole. The building was built of oak-staves roughly 
hewn into the required shape by an axe. Huge 


stakes of wood were driven into the ground, and a 
room about forty feet long, by ten feet wide and six 
feet high, thus formed. This served the threefold 
purpose of great hall, kitchen, and servants' bed- 
room. The crevices in the wood were freely plastered 
with clay, and made as comfortable and as handsome 
as such structures were possible to be made in those 
days. At one end of the room there were heaps of 
rushes and dry grass, which formed beds for the people 
at night; and in the centre was the fireplace the 
spot marked by a heap of ashes. Here two forked 
sticks driven into the ground afforded a rest for the 
spit and employment for the cook, whose skill was 
never very great. Pegs driven into the knots in the 
wood served to hang some drinking horns and a few 
bows and quivers upon ; and, in case of need, for the 
tethering to of the few cattle which they possessed. 
The furniture consisted of a long oaken table, and of 
rudely-fashioned forms and stools. 

Above this hall was another room divided into 
small compartments ; entrance to this was effected by 
a ladder, and through a hole in the floor. The apart- 
ment nearest to the ladder was occupied by Roger 
and his son Will ; and other rooms were occupied as 
they were wanted. Throughout the length of this 
upper story niches were cut, that the inhabitants 
might discharge their arrows at those who attacked 
them. This was the only portion of the house that 
overlooked the earthen embankment outside. On the 
inner side of the house slits in the timber admitted 
some scanty rays of light into the place ; and in two 


places square-latticed openings, unglazed, were also 
made for the purpose of getting light 

On the opposite side of the square a flat-roofed 
shed was constructed, where hides and provender 
were stored ; and which, in case of an unusual acces- 
sion of visitors, was used to lodge them. This place 
was also loopholed on the outer side for the purposes 
of defence. In former times other sheds had been 
constructed on the remaining sides, but Roger had 
neither the means nor the inclination to re-erect 
them. Tradition ascribed to former Gamewells a 
very much finer house; but though the apartments 
may have been larger, and the buildings more nu- 
merous, the general outline here, given indicates the 
sort of house in which they resided. 

Though Roger had made peace with the Norman* 
he had managed to incur the displeasure of very 
powerful enemies, and the chief object he had in re- 
building his house was to defend himself from them. 
These enemies were the king's foresters. Roger 
inherited a strong love for chasing and shooting 
the deer from a long line of ancestors who had en- 
joyed the privilege of supplying their table from the 
forest as they chose. Under the regulations intro- 
duced by the Conquest, all the deer were claimed by 
the king, and the punishment for killing one was cut- 
ting off the ears. There were many unfortunate 
Saxons mutilated in this way, on all the lands bor- 
dering on the forests. Some of these were in the 
household of Roger, and as he was known to supply 
his own wants and those of his retainers, without the 


slightest hesitation, from amongst the forest wild stock, 
he and his family lived in continual fear of assault? 
from the Norman foresters. 

On completing his house, Roger gave a feast, to 
which he invited several of the Saxon vassals on the 
lands of the neighbouring barons. This was fixed 
to take place in the month of September 1178. 
Amongst the invited guests were Dame Hood 
(Roger's sister) and her son Robin, Gaffer Plood 
staying at home ; Ivy Harper and his daughter 
Marian ; Deerfoot, Hidehead, and Limpfoot, stout 
Saxon acquaintances of his, all of whom believed 
themselves more or less wronged by the Normal 
landlords on whose estates they lived. The religious 
element was represented by Friar Goodly of Narrow- 
flask Abbey, who claimed kindred with some Saxon 
nobleman whose line, he maintained with imperturb- 
able gravity, ended in his reverend person. 

The preparations for the entertainment of these 
guests were necessarily of an extensive character. 
Several days were spent in arranging for the proper 
supply of the table. A fine fat buck was shot and 
brought in, and the four quarters hung in one of the 
outbuildings, which was dignified with the name of 
larder. There also hung hogs, small and large ; hares 
and rabbits ; ducks and swans. Several cooking- 
ranges were extemporised for the occasion in the open 
air ; where, on spits specially adapted to the size of 
the joint to be cooked, the meat was roasted over 

The table in the hall presented a gratifying spec- 


tacle to the invited guests on the eventful feast-day. 
Long rides through the forest gave to all, sharp appe- 
tites. A haunch of venison roasted through in parts, 
and affording every one a cut of the sort specially 
loved best, whether done or underdone, was carried 
round the table on the shoulders of two men by 
means of the spit, and the guests helped themselves 
to their liking, and each one cut a piece. Slices of 
coarse brown bread were eaten with meat ; and pota- 
tions of strong ale partaken out of a tankard which 
was common to all. There were no forks then, so 
fingers were fashionable. The feasters were very 
merry, and loud peals of laughter greeted every at- 
tempted sally of wit made by Friar Goodly. The 
friar had brought, in a capacious pocket of his robe, 
several flasks of good wine from the cellars of the 
abbey, as a contribution to the feast ; and the story 
of the way he borrowed the keys from the sleeping 
cellarer's girdle, and helped himself to the best, caused 
unusual mirth. 

The Abbot of Narrowflask was an austere Nor- 
man, who found more difficulty in regulating the wine- 
bibbing propensities of his flock than in collecting the 
rents of his farms. Wine and good eating were the 
innocent failings of the friar's nature ; redeemed at 
times with a little philosophy as a set off. 

" Now," quoth the friar, afte*r having exhausted 
the laughter of the evening, " let us have a little phil- 
osophical exercise, good for a man's head and helpful 
to his soul. Wine maketh the heart glad." 

" And the head sorry," quoth Robin. 


" It filleth a man with rare longings," said the 

" And laycth him in the moat," added Robin. 

" It giveth sleep and quiet oblivion," continued the 

"And the friar borroweth the cellarer's keys," 
finished Robin, amid uproarious shouts of merriment. 

"But there is a greater charmer than wine," said 
the host, " that the friar knows nothing about," jerk- 
ing his head in the direction where Marian Harper 
sat by Robin's side. 

Marian was a comely Saxon maiden, a favourite in 
many households loved for her kindness of heart, 
and welcome for her skill in dressing hurts and her 
knowledge of herbs. This she had inherited from her 
mother, and from her, too, she derived that outward 
grace of form, and beauty of face, which made her a 
belle amongst the Saxons. Marian was also skilful 
with a bow, and could shoot a running deer, or a bird 
on the wing. The forest had been Marian's nursery 
and school; and the birds, the beasts, and the flowers 
had been her monitors. Was it, then, a wonder that 
she had grown up with an unconquerable love for the 
wild woods ? Her mother died when she was four- 
teen years of age; and from that time two years had 
elapsed, and this was the first festive occasion since 
their loss on which she and her father had ventured 
to make merry with their friends. 

Robin had frequently met Marian in the forest, and 
when she had killed a deer, had cut out delicate por- 
tions, which he had borne for her within hail of her 


Saxon home. They had rambled together in the 
summer-time amongst the trees, and rested beneath 
the shade of the great oaks, where Robin sang Saxon 
songs to the music of Marian's harp, and the wild 
birds gathered together in the branches of the neigh- 
bouring trees to listen. 

Almost unconsciously there had sprung up between 
them a strong attachment, which though unconfessed 
was yet ardent love. 

So when Gamewell hinted at the power of woman, 
Marian blushed at the allusion, and Robin started at 
the thought, and became aware of his deep love for 

Robin's mother said something about young men 
'oving the wild woods and the bow better than they 
loved the home of their fathers ; and Gamewell, seeing 
that he had unintentionally put a stop for a time to 
the merriment of the party, proposed that Ivy Har- 
per should sing for them. 

It was now afternoon, and the guests went out into 
the open part of the square between the buildings, 
where hides had been laid on the ground for the 
guests to lie on ; and in the centre of a half circle was 
one raised seat. Towards this seat Gamewell led 
Marian, who resisted somewhat, but was gently forced, 
amid approving shouts from those present, into the 
seat of honour, and was thereby constituted mistress 
of the sports. The friar brought up the tail-end of 
the procession of guests, and gravely laid himself 
down at the feet of Marian. 

" What is the prize to be?" asked the friar. 


" Five of my best hides," replied Gamewell. 

" Nay," quoth Ivy Harper ; " the prize shall be my 

"With a kiss from Marian," added Gamewell, 
whereat the friar looked up into her face as though 
he would have cheapened her lips then; but at a 
shake of Marian's head he seized his beads and 
bent his head gravely, as though repeating " Ave 

Will Gamewell, wha had been most attentive to 
the guests at dinner, here came up with a bundle of 
quarter-sticks under his arm, which he laid by the 
friar ; but it was resolved that, before indulging in 
feats of strength, they should have a song from Ivy 

The old minstrel presented a venerable appearance, 
his hair and beard were white, and though more than 
sixty winters had tried his strength, he was still as 
vigorous and active as a young man. He received 
his harp from the hand of Marian, and after running 
his ringers over the strings, struck up the air of an old 
war-song very popular amongst the Saxons. The air 
was bold and stirring; and the old man's voice accorded 
well with the notes he drew from his harp. The song 
related how the Saxons were lords of the island, and 
owned forests that God had plentifully stocked, where- 
in they might hunt at their pleasure; then it changed 
to tell of wars with men who had no respect for old 
men or maidens, who swept over the country, and 
took possession of the cities, and by cruel laws drove 
the inhabitants from the inheritance of their fathers ; 


and then it described the present state of the land and 
the people, who though oppressed were still able to 
revenge themselves upon their conquerors, and shot 
the deer in the forest and the birds of the air, as their 
fathers had done for centuries before them. Here the 
song changed to tell of losses, of friends that were 
gone, of loved ones that slept the long sleep, from 
which they would never wake again ; and at this 
point the old harper's voice quivered, and his hand 

At the same moment the sharp buzz of an arrow 
was heard, and the feathered messenger struck the harp 
from old Ivy's hand. All the guests started to their 
feet and sought shelter in the hall where they had 
dined. Roger Gamewell, his son, and Robin clam- 
bered into the loft above the hall, and were quick 
enough to see seven or eight men glide behind some 
trees a hundred yards off. Three only were left in 
the open glade beyond the wood. Roger opened a 
casement and shouted to know the reason of their 
shooting into the midst of a peaceful assembly. At 
the first glance Roger saw they were foresters, and 
guessed their business was to look after the remains 
of the buck on which the guests had been feasting. 
The men wore short jackets of untrimmed hide, with 
a belt across the waist, and a slouched round hat with 
a single feather stuck in the brim. They had each a 
bow and quiver full of arrows. The leader, a tall, 
bony man, carried a horn in his hand, and in reply 
shouted that they were the king's foresters, and 
wanted food and rest ; that they had been waiting 


outside long enough, and could not attract attention, 
though they had been shouting for some time. Roger 
refused admittance, telling them he had no room for 
such lordly guests. At this one of the foresters, at 
a sign from his leader, drew an arrow from his quiver 
and fitted it to his bow. Robin, who had been watch- 
ing what was going on through one of the slits in the 
wall, was too quick for the forester, and before the 
man had thrown himself into position to shoot, an 
arrow from Robin pinned his hand to his bow. The 
forester gave a yell of agony, and fled to the nearest 
treQ for refuge. Roger closed the casement and 
secured it on the inside. Meanwhile the women in 
the hall had not been idle ; bows and arrows enough 
to supply the whole party were quickly found. Robin 
and Will were left in the loft to watch the foresters, 
while Roger, Hidehead, Deerfoot, and the others 
crossed to the out-offices on the opposite side to re- 
connoitre. Those parts of the ground not occupied 
by buildings had been very strongly staked, and this 
having been recently executed could be relied upon. 
Between these staked walls and the embankment was 
a walk of about three feet in width, so that, even if 
the enemy did get across the moat and over the em- 
bankment, they would scarcely succeed in getting 
further. Facing the spot where, by a simple con- 
trivance of planks, the moat was crossed, Roger 
posted Limpfoot, with instructions to give timely 
warning, by blowing a note on his horn, when he saw 
any of the enemy and wanted assistance. A rude 
gate had been constructed to close the gap in the 


embankment which had been left for a passage into 
the grounds of the hall. The planking from the moat 
had been cautiously drawn within the enclosure in 
the early part of the day, and the gate securely fast- 
ened. Roger, however, resolved to make it still 
stronger by rolling against it some logs of wood ; and 
after posting others of his guests in different direc- 
tions, where they might command every part of his 
house and outbuildings, he returned, with two of his 
men, to finish the barricading of the gate. In the 
enclosure between the embankment were a number 
of roughly-hewn trunks of trees, which they found 
very little difficulty in rolling against the bottom of 
the gate, and thus rendered it so secure that the 
united efforts of six or seven men would not move it. 
Roger had little fear of the result of the contest, be- 
cause he found, on numbering his force, that he had 
twenty-three men, besides five women and the friar. 
While the disposition of his force was being made, 
the three foresters without had been joined by their 
comrades, whom Roger and the others had been sharp 
enough to see glide behind the trees before they 
opened the casement. The enemy now numbered 
ten men, the wounded forester having secreted him- 
self from further danger, and being occupied with 
bandaging his wound. The head forester advanced 
to the edge of the moat, waving his cap on the end 
of his bow as a token of his pacific intentions, and 
loudly demanded, in the name of the king, that Roger 
and his son should give themselves up to him as king's 
prisoners. The only answer he received was another 


shot from Robin's bow, which carried his cap off the 
end of his bow and lodged it in the branches of a tree 
fifty paces behind. This seemed to make the for- 
ester angry, and he beat a hasty retreat to the cover 
of a friendly tree. The foresters had had previous 
proof of Robin's skill in sundry attacks upon his 
father's house, but were not aware that it was his 
hand that had already committed such freaks amongst 
them. Roger now rejoined his son and nephew, and 
Will proposed that they should sally out and fight 
the foresters in the open field ; but Roger, though 
confident in the superiority of his friends, did not 
care to provoke more bitter animosity than what had 
been already engendered between them. Ivy Harper 
chimed in with Roger, and Will, though stoutly 
seconded by Robin, felt that his father's advice was 
more sound. They were roused from their consulta- 
tion by a shower of arrows rattling against the build- 
ing, some stray arrows glancing into the open square 
and striking the outer face of the opposite buildings. 
All the arrows fell harmless. The besieged each 
selected an opening in the wall, and, with an arrow 
fitted on the string, watched for an opportunity to 
shoot, but the foresters were too wary and kept well 
under cover. Will, who soon grew tired of watching 
without getting a chance for a shot, proposed to 
Robin that they should throw open the casement 
and tempt the foresters by shewing themselves. 
This was done, and both Robin and Will looked out 
towards the forest. They saw that they were noticed, 
and that the foresters were preparing to shoot. Robin 


drew quietly on one side, and ran to the end of the 
loft, where he thought he should have a fair oppor- 
tunity to shew his skill on some luckless forester. 
In a moment he saw a leg uncovered by the tree 
which hid the rest of the body of the forester, and 
taking steady aim, the arrow stuck in the outstretched 
limb. At the same moment several arrows flew in at 
the casement, one of which glanced from the edge of 
the timber, and entered the side of Ivy Harper, who, 
not knowing that the casement was open, was coming 
up, with his trusty bow in hand, to the assistance of 
his friends. Will, who was using the shutter as a sort 
of shield at the moment, heard a heavy sigh, and 
starting forward, caught the old man as he was on 
the point of falling. The arrow had fixed itself in 
Harper's side, and the stream of blood which poured 
forth told too truly that the wound was mortal. The 
casement was hastily closed, and summoning his 
father and others in the loft, they prepared to carry 
the old man down the ladder into the hall. Robin 
was first sent down to break the news to Marian, who, 
with Dame Hood, was busily engaged preparing a 
few bandages in case of an accident. 

" Marian, prepare to receive a patient," Robin said. 
There was something in his manner from which she 
guessed who it was. 

"My father!" she exclaimed, clutching Robin by 
the arm ; " it must not be !" 

Robin for a moment made no reply. Then, seeing 
the truth must soon be known, he gently held her 
back, and bade her summon all her courage and con- 


trol her feelings, lest she should distress her father 
and the excitement make his hurt dangerous. Marian 
and Dame Hood at once made a bed of rushes and 
straw, on which a hide was laid, while Robin assisted 
in lowering the wounded man. 

" Where's the friar ?" inquired Roger. Then only 
did they discover that he had not been seen since the 
first arrow had so unceremoniously disturbed poor 
Harper's song. At length he was found in one of the 
outbuildings sound asleep, and, on being aroused, 
urged that men of religion, like himself, were not 
allowed to fight by the rules of their order, and a 
feeling of self-preservation prevented him from ex- 
posing himself wantonly to the arrows of the enemy. 
On hearing that Harper had been wounded, however, 
he hastened willingly to give what consolations were 
in his power. The friar found the old man laid upon 
the bed. The arrow had been withdrawn and his 
side bandaged; but no skill could have availed to save 
him, and. all who were round saw that his life was 
slowly ebbing away. Marian knelt by her father's 
side, his head resting on her left arm, while her right 
hand clasped his. 

" Marian," the old man was saying, in a very calm 
voice, " I shall soon be where no more arrows can be 
shot, no more wounds inflicted ; where your mother 
already is, Marian, and where, Marian, you must join 
us one day." 

" Dying !" quoth the friar ; "who speaks of dying ? 
let the living man trust in God." 

" Nay," said the old man ; " I am dying, but I have 


trust in God, and though not for longer life here, a 
better one elsewhere." 

" Father, you must not talk of dying ; I cannot live 
without you." Marian's sob interrupted her words, 
for she felt that his words were true, and saw his eye 
was even then glazing. 

"Roger," said the dying man, "look after my 
Marian. Robin, as you love " 

" Peace be with his soul !" exclaimed the friar ; " to 

Falling on their knees, the friar recited the prayers 
for the departing. 

The sentence on the old man's lips remained un- 
finished, and while words of holy intercession were 
being uttered, his head suddenly dropped upon his 
breast, and his soul passed into the presence of the 
Saviour and the Judge. 



The besieged avenge Harper's Death His Burial in the Forest Friar 
Goodly returns to Narrowflask Abbey The Friar's surprise at 
finding his Theft discovered The Abbot's Sentence Robin on 
his way to Gamewell meets Marian in the Forest The Greenwood 

1FTER the death of Harper nothing could 
restrain Roger and his friends from ven- 
turing into the forest to revenge the old 
man's death. 

They armed themselves with spears in addition to 
their bows and arrows ; and the first intimation that 
the foresters had of the change of tactics on the part 
of the besieged was their appearance in the field. 
Their advance was met by a shower of arrows from 
the foresters, which flew wide of their intended des- 
tination ; and, with their spears in hand, Roger and 
his men advanced quickly to dislodge them from their 
hiding-places. The latter knew they were no match 
for their opponents, and as they had no other wea- 
pon with them besides their bows, they beat a hasty 


retreat towards the heart of the forest, covering them- 
selves as best they might while they ran. Roger was 
not unwilling to let the men escape, and restrained 
his followers from joining too hotly in pursuit, urging 
them to content themselves by annoying their adver- 
saries with such flesh wounds as they were able to 
inflict upon the limbs of the flying foe. This was 
done with considerable skill on the part of the 
Saxons, whose superiority in the use of the bow had 
been established in many contests ; and scarcely one 
of the retreating party escaped without a sorrowful 
remembrance of the churlish attack on Gamewell 

The sun having sunk low in the western sky before 
Roger and his friends had thus chased the forester? 
away, they returned from the chase heavy with sor- 
row at the sad loss they had sustained. They found 
Marian sitting with her father's head in her lap. She 
had washed his face with her tears, and kissed his 
lips, calling him the while, " Father! father!" with an 
earnest bitter sorrow, as though she would not believe 
he was dead. No entreaties had induced her to leave 
him, and the friar saw that for a time his ministra- 
tions would fall unheeded on a heart that was then 
unable to discharge itself of its load of grief. So he 
wisely withdrew, and watched from a distance what 
passed. When Roger and Robin, Will and Deer- 
foot, Hidehead and the others, returned, it was re- 
solved that Marian should be separated from the 
body of her father, while the simple rites of burial 
were gone through. So Robin gently raised her up, 


his mother taking the cold head in her arms, and lay- 
ing it down upon the hide ; and Marian, seeing that 
they were determined in what they did, suffered her- 
self to be led away to where the friar sat on a stool, 
repeating his evening prayers. The body of her 
father was borne out of the great hall, and placed in 
one of the outhouses, on some rough planks. Robin 
whispered such words of comfort into Marian's ear as 
a heart in loving sympathy naturally dictates. The 
flood of sorrow burst in uncontrollable streams from 
Marian's heart, and the extremity of her grief was 
fathomed. When those in the hall saw her weeping, 
they felt they might venture on soothing words of 
comfort, and so gathered round her, each speaking a 
loving word, and each giving her a loving Saxon kiss, 
and calling her "daughter" and "sister." But Robin 
whispered another name in her ear, and claimed to 
be in the future her protector and helper. Round 
the fire a large one kindled in the centre of the hall 
they reclined on straw, rushes, or hides, neighbours 
and dependents alike ; and while the bright fire blazed 
and the wood crackled, and showers of fiery sparks 
flew out, they told in loving terms the story of old Ivy 
Harper's life, his prowess, his battles, his sorrows, and 
his wrongs. When several hours had passed, Marian 
arose and crept silently towards the door, but Robin 
followed her, notwithstanding that she waved him back 
with her hand. He would follow, because he knew 
wherefore she rose, and whither she was going. Out 
upon the lawn they passed together, not a word being 
spoken by either. 


The moon was shining brightly, and a gentle 
breeze sang among the trees in the forest, a soft 
murmur filling the air, as though the trees themselves 
were conscious of the blood that had been shed, and 
joined in the mourning. While the moon looked 
down coldly and unconcernedly, and seemed further 
off, and more out of reach of all human comprehen- 
sion than ever, Marian and Robin passed into the 
outhouse where, covered simply with a hide, lay the 
remains of Ivy Harper. Marian started when she 
saw the outline of the body beneath the hide, but it 
was only for a moment ; then by an effort nerving 
herself, she stood by the head of the rude bier, and 
slowly removing the hide, disclosed the pale face of 
her beloved father. There was no fond response now 
to the passionately loving kiss she imprinted on his 
brow. She would have sat during the remainder of 
the night on the ground beside him, but Robin gently 
drew her away, and led her back to the unhappy 
circle they had left in the large hall. 

In the morning a grave was dug in the forest be- 
neath an old oak-tree that had outlived the flight of 
centuries, and the body of Ivy Harper was laid in it to 
mingle its dust with that from whence it came. Over 
the grave a wooden cross was raised, and long years 
after, wayfarers who passed by strangers and friends 
breathed a prayer, from love or courtesy, for the 
peace of the dead man's soul. 

Roger complained to his baron of the bad treat- 
ment they had received from the foresters. These 
men were held in aversion by all the country. The 


baron himself was fond of a little exercise in the way 
of hunting the deer, but objected to any one else on 
his estate doing the like. The blood that had been 
shed in this instance induced the baron to consider 
the matter more gravely than he otherwise would. 
He was accustomed to hear of his people being beaten 
by the foresters, and, on the whole, thought it was 
wholesome discipline for them, and cared little so long 
as his own weaknesses were passed by unnoticed. It 
seemed different, however, when the foresters pro-* 
ceeded to extremities, and upon such slight grounds 
of suspicion. Considering every circumstance of the 
case, the baron determined on sending a message to 
the nearest forester, whom he threatened to bring 
before an itinerant court of justice, which had just 
then been established, for compensation on account 
of the death of Ivy Harper. This had the effect of 
bringing one of the principal delinquents, after the 
expiration of a few weeks, before the baron, who con- 
tented himself with receiving a pledge that in future 
they would abstain from such violent measures. The 
forester declared that his party had lost more blood 
altogether than the body of one man contained, and 
was loath to allow that they, acting in the king's name, 
had not the full right they claimed of apprehending, 
judging, and punishing offenders against the forest 

On the morning of the burial of Harper, Friar 
Goodly had taken leave of his friends and returned, 
with a heavy heart, to the Abbey of Narrowflask. 
Not that he felt unable to give a satisfactory account 


of his absence, but some doubts had arisen in his mind 
whether an awkward discovery of the trick he had 
played upon the cellarer might not have taken place. 
These doubts grew almost into conviction on his 
meeting, in the forest, with a friar of another order, 
which was always taken as a sign of ill luck. The 
abbey was distant ten miles from Gamewell House, 
and stood in the centre of one of the richest pas- 
turages in the county. The abbey lands embraced 
several hundreds of acres, most of which had been 
left by rich men, who by bequeathing their land for 
religious uses when they had no further need of it. 
believed they secured their souls' salvation. But some 
of the land had been acquired by skilful trading on 
the part of the abbot, who was always very ready to 
lend hard cash to needy persons possessed of lands, 
and was content with enormous interest. The vassals 
of the abbey supplied the establishment with every- 
thing that was required for the use of the inmates, 
food for the wants of pilgrims or strangers, and luxu- 
ries for the entertainment of richer guests. 

The abbot, Simon de Need-all, was an austere man, 
grave as a modern judge, and severe as an execu- 
tioner. There had been a little quarrelling over his 
appointment, the Church and State coming into colli- 
sion very frequently over the right of presentation. 
Simon was a Church favourite, and as such felt him- 
self called upon to exhibit considerable independence 
towards all the liege subjects of the king. Every 
breach of discipline in the abbey was regarded as 
tainted with the original dispute of the abbot's elec- 


tion, and was visited with the severest monastic 
penalties. Now it happened that Friar Goodly had 
been noticed on the morning of the Gamewell feast 
returning from the direction of the cellar. Brother 
Gasphard, who had been at prayer at that very 
moment in a recess near the spot where the cellarer 
slept, had been disturbed in his religious exercises 
by the friar's stealthy step, and opening the corner of 
one eye, without pausing in his devotions, took in the 
full proportions of his brother, and saw him replace 
the keys with a smothered laugh by the sleeper's 
side. When the cellarer awoke, he was informed by 
Friar Gasphard of what he had seen ; and an exami- 
nation of the abbot's wine-bin revealed the theft that 
had taken place. The abbot's indignation on hearing 
of this breach of privilege was very great, and the 
whole of the friars were ordered to half rations and 
special psalms until the absentee made his appear- 
ance. But Friar Goodly made no obeisance before 
the abbot that night ; and it was not till the afternoon 
of the next day that his figure was discovered by the 
warder on duty. At the precise moment he knocked 
at the little wicket gate, his appropriation of the wine 
was chased from his mind by the intervening events, 
which had been of so startling a character. When, 
therefore, he met his superior pacing up the court- 
yard, looking unusually flushed, he was for the 
moment at a loss to understand what had disturbed 
him. But his curiosity was more than satisfied by 
the first query of the abbot. 
" What about my wine, sirrah ? " The abbot planted 


himself opposite to the astonished sinner. The friar 
was not at a loss for an answer. 

" I took it for a sick man," he replied, " who died 
the same afternoon, and whose body was buried by 
me in the forest this morning," 

" Oh ! " quoth the abbot. " Follow me." 
Into the abbey the two strode, the friars they met 
standmg meekly aside while they passed, and cross- 
ing themselves for deliverance from their brother's 
sin. The cellarer, and Friar Gasphard, who had seen 
the delinquent with the keys, were summoned. Gasp^ 
hard told his story, and the cellarer his. Friar Goodly 
made no attempt to conceal his guilt ; but threw 
himself on the mercy of the abbot. Looking at the 
grievousness of the sin, which presented to his mind 
a threefold aspect, 1st, Taking advantage of a man 
of trust sleeping; 2d, Appropriating wine reserved for 
the abbot's private table ; and 3d, Absenting himself 
for a whole day and night without leave, the abbot 
declared that the highest punishment in his power 
to inflict would hardly satisfy the merits of the case. 
However, considering that Goodly had confessed his 
fault, he would content himself with awarding one 
punishment instead of three, as he deserved, and 
would mercifully order him to be confined to his cell 
for six weeks, during which time he must, in addition 
to his ordinary number of prayers, sing three hundred 
psalms every four-and-twenty hours, and be supplied 
with bread and water only. If there was one thing 
Friar Goodly disliked more than another, it was the 
fast-days of the Church ; and a bread-and-water diet 


he utterly abhorred. There was no help for him, 
however, and he was politely escorted by the cellarer 
and Brother Gasphard to his cell, where he forthwith 
commenced in the lowest and most melancholy note 
of his voice to chant the first instalment of his psalms 
for the day. 

Robin and his mother stayed with Roger Game- 
well several days after the funeral of Ivy Harper. 
The woodhouse and land the deceased had occupied 
were let by Baron Holdhard to another dependent, 
and Marian was persuaded to make Gamewell thence- 
forward her home. Robin and his mother were vas- 
sals of Baron de Hardacre, whose lands bordered 
those of Baron Holdhard, and they resided about 
fourteen miles from Gamewell House. The Hoods 
were wanderers from their native soil, and had been 
driven, while Robin was a boy, from their land in the 
pretty valley of the Loxley, to seek a settlement 
elsewhere. They had wandered, suffering many hard- 
ships, through Sherwood Forest, until they came to 
Gamewell House, where they were entertained several 
days, and ultimately took up their abode at Speed- 
swift, with the gracious approval of Baron Holdhard. 
Peter Hood, Robin's father, was, like Roger Game- 
well, the descendant of an old Saxon family. Now 
that Marian was settled at Gamewell, Dame Hood 
was anxious to return to Speedswift with the tidings 
of what had befallen the Gamewells and Ivy Harper; 
and a grave suspicion haunted her more than once, 
that the foresters, after their defeat, might have 
troubled her husband with their presence. On 


several occasions they had visited his house, which 
was not so well adapted for the purposes of defence 
as Gamewell, and had levied toll of liquors and food 
in a most insulting manner. But Marian was un- 
willing that Dame Hood should leave her ; and Robin 
added his entreaties to those of Roger Gamewell and 
Will, and so several days elapsed before they started 
home. Robin was pleased that his interviews with 
Marian were likely to be more frequent than when 
she lived at home with her father in Ivy House, 
which was more than twenty miles from Speedswift. 
On arriving at their home, Robin and his mother 
found that the foresters had indeed visited Speed- 
swift, but that it was to have their wounds dressed ; 
and from their account of what had taken place, Peter 
Hood discovered that they had paid Gamewell a 
hostile visit. All the foresters had wounds, some of 
them had been shot in several places ; and fierce 
threats of vengeance were muttered against Roger 
and his son. The men had remained at Speedswift 
a night and a day ; and Peter Hood had good reason 
to suspect, from what they let fall before their de- 
parture, that Robin was amongst the number of those 
they encountered at Gamewell. He was very much 
pleased to see both wife and son back again in safety, 
but was much grieved to hear of Ivy Harper's death. 
Robin urged his father to make their house as safe 
as possible, so as to enable them to resist any attack 
that might be made by the foresters at a future time. 
With this view, the house, which consisted of one 
long room with a flat roof, was strengthened as much 


as possible by additional timber posts ; and a rude 
loft was also constructed on the roof, the sides of 
which were perforated, to allow of their shooting at 
any person who might venture to annoy them. The 
doonvay on the ground-floor was fastened up and 
secured on the inside, so that now entrance could 
only be effected by means of a ladder from the out- 
side, placed against the loft. 

The summer was fading into autumn when these 
alterations were accomplished, and Robin got leave 
to visit Gamewell, where he had not been since the 
fight. Taking his bow and a full quiver of arrows 
with him, Robin entered the forest to walk to Game- 

Sherwood Forest at this time extended over a great 
portion of the counties of Nottingham, Derby, and 
York. Round its borders there were scattered hamlets 
and several large towns; while through the forest 
there ran certain great high-roads, which led to the 
principal towns. Sherwood abounded with game of 
all descriptions, so that when the unfortunate Saxons 
were sorely pressed by their enemies, they had litile 
difficulty in sustaining themselves in their sylvan 
retreat ; and it sometimes required an armed band of 
soldiers to dislodge them. Robin, who was well 
acquainted with its by-ways, scorned the high-roads 
that travellers sought, and struck out into the depths 
of the forest, cutting through the great centres, where 
the trees grew so close as to afford the safest hiding- 
place that could be found. He knew of short cuts, 
that led by routes as straight as the crow flew, from 


point to point. The forest had many attractions for 
a lover of nature in all her wild picturesque beauty, 
and abounded with charming landscapes of infinite 
variety. There were hills thickly studded with trees 
to their very summits, and valleys, along the bosom 
of which rivulets ran, that were destined in future 
years to give names to flourishing towns. These 
streams abounded with trout and fish of several kinds, 
and their capture afforded the monks in neighbour- 
ing abbeys hours of amusement, besides being the 
means of furnishing their tables with fresh fish on 
fast-days. There were groves of oaks that were great 
trees at the time of the Conquest, and had not ceased 
to grow even then. There were also countless other 
trees, in which the birds built their nests, and held 
undisturbed possession, and from the branches of which 
they filled the air with sounds of sweetest melody. 

The ground was carpeted with luxurious grass, and 
thickly studded with such wild flowers as the season 
called into existence. There was heather in great 
patches, in which the hares and rabbits lived ; and 
acres of yellow gorze-bushes, over which the nightin- 
gale, bowered in the branch of some favourite tree, 
sang by night her plaintive song to the moon and 
stars. There were extensive lakes, on which the swan 
built her nest, and the wild-duck made her home; 
and groups of trees hard by, where the heron, on the 
topmost branches, trained up her little ones. The 
forest also abounded, in those parts where the oaks 
grew in greatest numbers, with wild-hogs, that lived 
upon the acorns, and were hunted either by the rich 


abbots and their visitors for sport, or by the poor 
Saxons for food. Besides these, there were deer in 
numerous herds, that loved open glades and water- 
brooks, and moved timidly away at the approach of 
man. There was a time when a haunch of venison 
was a common dish on the table of the Saxon 
borderer of the forest ; but the cruel Norman laws 
made it a dangerous one, because by them a 
deer's life was esteemed of more worth than a man's 

Robin had been bred in the midst of such scenes as 
Sherwood afforded; he had had his schooling among 
the trees, and in the glades, and had naturally im- 
bibed a strong love for a wild forest-life. When very 
young, a mark set upon a tree formed his target, and 
he had acquired such skill in the use of his bo\v, as 
to excel all with whom he had come in contact. 

But that day Robin paid little heed to the fair marks 
that were offered for his skill, as he strode through 
the forest on his way to Gamewell. His mind was 
busied with other thoughts those of Marian mingling 
with others of the many foes by whom they were 
surrounded. A dim remembrance of his boyhood's 
home in the valley of the Loxley, came up like a 
distant view of a beautiful landscape that fades too 
soon from sight. He was startled, however, from 
his reverie by the sound of his own name, and look- 
ing before him, saw Marian, with her bow in one 
hand, and a couple of ducks suspended from her 
girdle. She had be'en in the forest since an early 
hour of the morning, and was on the point of return- 


ing when they thus met. Her fair flaxen hair was 
decked with wild-flowers, and her face flushed with 
walking. She carried in her other hand a forester's 
horn, which was attached to a worked girdle. 

"This is for you, Robin," she said, their greetings 
over ; tf I 've sounded it every time I came into the 
forest, in the hope of meeting you here." 

Robin took it from her, and praised the pretty work 
about the girdle, then kissed it, and hanging it round 
his neck, took hold of Marian's hand and vowed that 
never, so long as he lived, would he part with that 
horn, for the love he bore to her whose handiwork 
the girdle was. 

A deeper flush overspread Marian's face at Robin's 
impassioned language, which told him more plainly 
than words could speak that Marian loved him. Robin 
had but a few arrows to give her from his quiver, 
which would perversely stick when he attempted to 
draw them forth, and Marian laughed and said they 
would not come out willingly, and she would not have 
them ; but she did take them after all, though she 
said they were useless, as she should never shoot with 
them. They rambled through the forest in the very 
opposite direction to that which would have led them 
to Gamewell, until they came to a part where the 
trees grew thickly together. It was a natural arbour 
formed of gigantic trees, whose roots had become 
twined and intertwined, and whose trunks in some 
places sided up against each other, their great arms 
interlacing in wondrous fashion. Amongst these 
trees they passed until they came upon an open 


space of nearly an acre in extent. This Marian 
called the heart of Sherwood. It was her favourite 
haunt, and where, she believed, no human foot beside 
her own had ever trodden. 

It was, indeed, a lovely spot. The ground was 
covered with the sweetest of bright wild-flowers, and 
the air was rilled with the melodious songs of birds, 
that seemed to dedicate Nature's temple to Nature's 
God. Robin was much pleased with the discovery of 
such a spot, but seeing a fine heron flying towards 
them, hastily strung his bow. Marian, however, for 
bade him, on penalty of her displeasure, from killing 
a bird in her retreat ; and, holding her bow towards 
Robin, exacted from him a vow that he would never 
himself shoot an arrow at bird, beast, or human be- 
ing that crossed the place on which they then stood. 
There was one old oak which stood forth out of the 
circle of his fellows, a little in advance, as though he 
was their leader, or had gone out to marshal his 
brethren and been suddenly transfixed where he 
stood. The appearance of this tree had previously 
led Marian to the conclusion that it was the patriarch 
of the grove. Round the gnarled and twisted trunk, 
and high up amongst the branches, there had grown 
a fresh green ivy, which had completely encircled the 
tree, so that the original bark was completely hidden. 
Marian called Robin's attention to this tree, which 
she called "Sherwood's King;" but Robin, who had 
seen some older trees in other parts of the forest, 
proposed that it should be named henceforth " The 
Greenwood-tree," to which Marian at once assented ; 


and, going up to it, Robin blew three blasts upon the 
horn that Marian had given him in honour of the 
christening. The sound rang through the forest, 
echoing amongst the trees, and growing fainter and 
fainter, until like a whisper it died on the air. This 
was the first blast Robin sounded in this spot ; but 
the notes of that horn, which then only startled the 
birds and the deer, were destined to sound with 
deeper significance in the ears of man ere long. As 
they threaded their way out of the Greenwood Glen, 
Marian shewed Robin how to find his own way there, 
guiding himself by particular trees near which they 
passed. Robin was an apt scholar in all forest 
matters, and learned his lesson thoroughly under the 
gentle teaching of his guide. It was late in the after- 
noon before they reached the border of the forest 
adjacent to Gamewell. Roger had been on the look- 
out for Marian, being uneasy at her long absence ; 
but, while helping to drag the trunk of a tree across 
the moat, had heard, or fancied he heard, the dying 
echoes of a horn in the forest repeated three times. 
These proceeded from notes that he knew could not 
have been blown by Marian ; and he had guessed 
whom she had found, and the cause of her delay. 
When the two came up to the moat, Roger, with a 
pretended austerity of manner, that sat ill on his 
jovial countenance, bade Robin never blow his horn 
in the forest again, or he would bring all the foresters 
together; and then he might think himself lucky if 
he escaped from them by the sacrifice of his ears 


Marian, Robin, and Will slay a Buck in the Forest On their return 
they meet with Gammer and Gruff, and have a serious Fight The 
Rovers conquer the Foresters, and make them cany the Buck's 
Hide to Gamewell. 

OBIN told with much glee of the discovery 
Marian had , made in the forest, and the 
name which they had given to the old oak- 
tree. Will Gamewell asked if they had 
also named the glade in which it stood, and laugh- 
ingly suggested that it should be called the Lovers' 
Dingle ; while his father, still maintaining his assumed 
severity, declared he would have the trees hewn down, 
or the place would only serve to foster their love for 
killing the king's deer, by affording them a means of 
escaping from foresters when they might be hard 
pressed. A solitary buck for the household, when- 
ever there was a real want of food, he never objected 
to ; but to hunt the deer for the sake of the sport, and 
to bring in the head and hide, he most decidedly 
did. This was met by a burst of laughter from 
Marian and Will, who, pointing to the end of the 


hall, which was covered with the antlered heads of 
deer that Roger Gamewell himself had killed, declared 
that when they were able to count the same number 
as one year's trophies, they would be content, and 
would shoot no more. Marian and Robin vowed 
that they would never take any one into the Green- 
wood Glen, unless for sport or to escape from danger ; 
and, even then, they would blindfold them first. 

The following morning Robin, Marian, and Will 
Gamewell went into the forest for some sport. The 
glories of autumn had commenced ; the leaves of the 
trees, having done their summer duty, were, from 
every hue of green, changing to many coloured tints 
of decay. They were loosening their hold of the 
branches they had covered with such beauty during 
the summer ; and, as the wind rustled among them, 
slowly fluttered down, as though unwilling to leave 
their spring and summer home for the autumn dance 
on the ground. There were plenty of trees in the 
forest that always kept their light green dresses, and 
these were the redeeming features of the forest, when 
the beauties of autumn had departed. But besides 
the trees there were yet many other attractions, some 
of which have already been named ; and this morn- 
ing there was a secret compact amongst the three 
friends, that when they returned they would bring 
with them the finest antlered head they saw. Each 
carried a bow and quiver of arrows, and three fairer 
shots could not have been found in the forest. They 
had not gone far before they caught sight of several 
deer, that started up as they heard the sound of 


human voices, and, after glancing timidly in the direc- 
tion whence the voices came, trotted further off into 
the depths of the forest, to give notice to the rest of 
the herd of the supposed approach of danger. None 
of these, however, wore the horns the trio wanted, and 
they began to fear that they would have ill luck, 
when an unusual stir amongst the leaves in their 
immediate vicinity caused each of them to place an 
arrow quickly on the string, and stand ready for a 
shot. In a moment there stept before them a magni- 
ficent buck, who knocked the branches of the trees 
aside with his horns. On seeing the three intruders, 
he paused for a moment, while his dilated nostrils 
and low panting snort plainly told of his anger at 
being disturbed. His gigantic horns spoke his patri- 
archal age, and leadership of a herd somewhere at 
hand, to whom he had given a signal, as was evidenced 
by a hurried scrambling among the trees at a short 
distance. After a moment's pause, during which the 
astonishment of all seemed about equal, the antlered 
champion shook his head and advanced towards Will 
Gamewell, who stood apart from Robin and Marian. 
It was evident that he meant mischief, and would, if 
possible, butt his antagonist. Will raised his bow 
and drew the string, but had no time to let the arrow 
fly, before the deer, bending his head, sprang forward, 
and Will was b^t just able to leap aside to avoid the 
blow from his horns. Robin called to him to run, 
but Will nimbly grasped a branch of a tree and 
swung himself out of reach. Now it was the turn of 
Robin and Marian. Seeing the fighting propensity 


of the animal, they had taken shelter behind a large 
oak. On losing Will, however, it turned in the direc- 
tion where they were hiding, and slowly advanced. 
Not a moment was to be lost. Marian raised her 
bow, and, as with bent head and increased speed the 
deer came on, an arrow pierced its side. The beautiful 
creature gave a sudden bound, and then fell dead to 
the ground. 

"That was well shot!" exclaimed Robin, with 
much warmth. 

" It was one of your arrows," Marian replied, " and 
I would not on any account lose it." 

" Bravo !" shouted Will from his place of safety, as 
he saw his enemy fall to the ground. " Well done, 
Marian ! a woman's arrow has saved two lives." 

" Three lives, three lives," urged Robin ; " for if it 
had not been for Marian we should have been either 
killed by the deer or shot by the foresters." 

Marian stepped up to their prostrate assailant, and 
patted his great head with her hand, upbraiding her- 
self the while with slaying so faithful a lord of his 
herd. Will, meanwhile, leaped down to the ground ; 
and all three, the danger over, had a hearty laugh at 
the novel position in which they had been placed. 
Robin and Will drew their knives, and prepared to 
skin the animal, and cut off his head, while Marian 
gathered some dry sticks and leaves, to make a fire 
on which to broil some steaks. By working hard 
they soon stripped the hide off, and with some diffi- 
culty also severed the head. They then threw the 
skin over the branch of a tree, intending to call for it 


on their return from the Greenwood Glade; and, 
after refreshing themselves with the broiled venison 
and water from a running stream, they marked the 
trees in the neighbourhood, and pressed forward into 
the forest. 

At length Marian, whose knowledge of the part 
they now came to was complete, led them to the 
border of the glade ; and after blindfolding Will, he 
was led forward into the open space already de- 
scribed. Will's astonishment was only equalled by 
the delight of Robin and Marian. With mock 
solemnity, Marian led Will to the Greenwood-tree, 
and, seating him on the mossy bank at its base, 
hailed him a forest rover. Robin gathered an arm< 
ful of wild flowers, and Marian plaited them into a 
coronet, with which she crowned Will's brow ; and, as 
a fitting conclusion to the ceremony, Robin blew 
three blasts upon his horn. Before leaving the glade, 
Robin and Will each cut a strong quarterstaff from 
one of the trees, upon which they meant to carry the 
deer's hide home between them. 

It so happened, however, that the sound of the 
horn was heard by two of the foresters, Gammer and 
Gruff, who were returning from Nottingham. They 
had been into the town to see the sheriff, before 
whom they laid the story of their sufferings at Game- 
well, and the subsequent interference of Baron de 
Holdhard on behalf of the obnoxious Saxons. They 
made out against the Gamewells a very strong case, 
as a one-sided representation always is. 

The sheriff, whose name was Shrimp, was a mighty 


little man, full of the dignity of his office. He 
esteemed himself the greatest man in Nottingham, 
not even excepting the governor of the castle. He 
sympathised strongly with the foresters, and swore 
he would capture the Gamewells, and burn their 
house to the ground. The foresters invariably kept 
the sheriffs larder stocked with the choicest meats 
that the forest yielded, so that it was not unnatural 
that he should lend a ready ear to their tale, and 
promise to avenge their wrongs. He declared that 
on a certain day he would march out of Nottingham 
with a number of the king's officers, specially selected 
for the work by himself; and that, with the assistance 
of the foresters, he would bring the criminals to 
justice. Gammer, who was the chief forester of the 
Nottingham range, vowed on the spot that he would 
double the sheriff's allowance of venison, and de- 
parted with Gruff, chuckling at the success of the 
scheme. On their way back through the forest, pro- 
fiting by past experience, they were planning how 
they might push the sheriff and his force into the 
forefront of the siege, so as to keep their own skins 
whole. While these pleasant thoughts were passing 
through their minds they caught the sound of Robin's 
horn. Both stopped, and looked at each other in 
astonishment From the very depths of the forest 
the sound seemed to have come ; and while they yet 
listened, a second and a third blast, faint in the dis- 
tance, but nevertheless clear and distinct, struck upon 
their ears. 

"There are some rogues. amongst the deer again," 


Gammer said ; " that horn is not from one of out 

Gruff doubted whether it was so, because the deer- 
slayers, he urged, were more quiet about their work, 
and knew the sound of a horn would attract a 
forester s ears. At this moment there broke through 
the trees before them a herd of deer, that passed at a 
smart run on towards the border of the forest in the 
direction of Nottingham. The appearance of these 
deer confirmed Gammer in his opinion that there had 
been some poaching going on, and he determined to 
proceed in the direction from whence the sound came. 
They carried with them bows and arrows ; but, be- 
lieving they might have need of another weapon, 
determined to provide themselves with serviceable 
oaken quarterstaves. Selecting a young oak for the 
purpose, they speedily procured the weapons they 
desired. They then pressed forward into the forest, 
and met in succession several other herds, all coming 
from the same quarter, which had evidently been 
startled by something unusual that had occurred. 
After some time had elapsed, they came to the very 
spot where early in the morning Robin and his 
friends had had the encounter with the deer. There 
lay the body of the buck, divested of his hide and 
head, and on a tree near at hand hung the missing 
head and coat Gammer grinned his intense satisfac- 
tion at the discovery, and came to the conclusion 
that the slayers of the noble beast were still in the 
forest, and that they intended to carry the trophy 
of their lawless exploit away with them. Gruff, who 


had ventured in the outset to differ from his chief, 
vowed over the body of the buck that Gammer was 
the most extraordinary man that had ever roamed 
the forest, and called himself hard and bad names 
for having ventured to dispute his sagacious observ- 
ations on the sound of the horn. 

At Gammer's suggestion they cut two thin strips 
from the hide, with which to bind the offenders ; and 
on the end of each strip they constructed a running 
noose. His long walk had made Gruff hungry, 
although he had some few hours previously done 
amazing justice to the viands set before him by the 
sheriff. He proposed, therefore, that, while they 
waited the coming of the offenders, they should have 
a thin slice of venison broiled. Gammer assented, 
and two delicate slices were very speedily broiling on 
a small fire that Gruff made. They had scarcely 
finished the repast when the sound of laughter drove 
them in hiding behind a tree, from whence they 
watched for the appearance of the unsuspecting 
hunters. On seeing the three, Gammer exclaimed, 

" There 's Robin Hood, the keenest bowman that 
can be found in all Nottingham ; and Will Game- 
well, son of old Roger; and Marian Harper, who 
owes us little love." 

" Shall I shoot?" whispered Gruff, preparing at the 
same time to fit an arrow to his bow. 

" No, no ; down !" said Gammer; " they'd pin us to 
the trees in a twinkling;" and, seeing the bow in 
Marian's hand, growled to himself, " three to two is 
one too many, although one 's a woman." 


Unconscious of the excitement their arrival had 
created, Robin and Will threw aside their bows and 
staves, and prepared to take down the hide. 

" Now," exclaimed Gammer, " now 's our time ; hit 

So saying, Gammer and Gruff sprang from their 
hiding-place, and, with quarterstaves upraised, dashed 
out upon the rovers. In an instant Robin sprang 
forward, and, before Gammer had time to strike a 
blow, seized him by the legs, and flung him back- 
wards on his head with a heavy fall. At the same 
moment Will had seized Gruff round the waist, 
twisted the staff from his hands, and engaged hirn 
in a sharp wrestle. Marian, whose head and bust 
had been crowned with wild-flowers, stood perfectly 
bewildered at the suddenness of the assault. Re^ 
covering from her surprise, she fitted an arrow to her 
string, as though she would shoot Gammer should he 
attempt to rise. Robin seeing this, called upon her 
to stay her hand. Gammer lay for a moment stunned 
with his heavy fall, and Robin, standing over him, 
watched the wrestling between Gruff and Will. The 
latter had the advantage of youth on his side, but his 
opponent was a heavy man ; and after vainly endea- 
vouring to throw him, Will suddenly tripped him up, 
and he fell prostrate on the ground. On recovering 
his senses, Gammer challenged Robin to a bout with 
the quarterstaff, which Robin gladly accepted ; and 
Gruff and Will determined likewise to try their skill. 
Before commencing, Gammer proposed that Robin 
and Will should surrender to them as the king's 


foresters ; and promised, if they would go with them 
quietly through the forest to Nottingham, that he 
would intercede on their behalf, so as to save them 
from the extreme penalty which the law awarded to 
their crime. Robin rejected the proposal with scorn- 
ful merriment, and the foresters took up their staves 
and prepared, with ill-concealed alarm, to cross with 
their youthful opponents. Marian stood by, evidently 
very much concerned for the safety of her two friends. 
The foresters commenced with manifest caution, 
standing entirely on the defensive, and springing 
back lightly, avoided two or three well-aimed blows, 
any one of which would have inflicted an unde- 
sirable sore upon them. Gammer, who was to all 
appearance the more formidable of the two rangers, 
after fencing for some time, threw out his staff for a 
blow at his antagonist's head, which Robin escaped 
by a skilful guard, and at the same time brought his 
own staff with such force on the left side of his oppo- 
nent as to evoke a loud grunt from his lips. This 
blow, which was the first inflicted, did not increase 
Gammer's amiability, and he struck out wildly at his 
opponent's head, arms, body, and legs, but without 
coming home once, while every motion of Robin's 
arm told of a corresponding and effective blow on 
some unguarded part. Gammer grew furious as each 
successive thud made his limbs and sides ache with 
pain ; he the while failing even to reach the body of 
his youthful adversary. Stroke succeeded stroke on 
poor Gammer's hide, until, after three successive 
blows on the top of his head, which caused the blood 


to stream over his face, he suddenly threw himself 
upon Robin, and tried to bear him down by superior 
weight. Robin, nothing loth, being skilled in this 
mode of contest, cast aside his well-used staff, and 
seizing the fellow round the waist, in a moment 
hurled him to the ground with such force that this 
time he was completely stunned. 

Meanwhile Will and Gruff had been fighting with 
varying success. Gruff was evidently more practised 
in the use of the weapon than his master, and gave 
Will no small amount of trouble. They had been 
fighting more cautiously than Robin and Gammer ; 
but it was evident that Gruff was rapidly growing 
unequal to the contest. Will was as lithe as a young 
sapling, and, much to Gruff's disgust, skipped about 
in an exceedingly lively manner to avoid his blows. 
By so doing he was rapidly wearing Gruff out, whose 
short heavy breathings indicated his exhausted state. 
Robin, after wiping the perspiration from his face, 
called upon Will to push the contest ; and, inspired 
by his friend's voice, Will let fly an unexpected blow, 
which descended so forcibly on the unhappy pate of 
Gruff as to fell him like an ox to the ground. 

It was now Marian's turn to play her part, but it 
was that of a kind and gentle nurse. Gammer, who 
had recovered from his insensibility, was still bleeding 
profusely, and Marian tore some bandages from her 
linen dress, which she soaked in the river, and with 
them attempted to stanch the bleeding. These 
attentions were received with grim complacency, her 
patient muttering the while that he had not done with 


Robin. Evidently the thought of defeat had been as 
sore a punishment to Gammer as the blows he had 
received. Robin was of too noble a disposition to 
taunt a beaten foe, and contented himself by urging 
that the forester had drawn the punishment upon 
himself by interfering in the first place. Gruff, though 
he had not received any flesh-wound, was much hurt, 
and lay insensible for several minutes ; but Marian's 
attention shortly restored him. Will's condition was 
scarcely better than that of Gruff, and he lay panting 
on the ground exhausted with his efforts, while Marian 
doctored his adversary. As Robin went to the brook 
to quench his thirst, it so chanced that he passed the 
tree behind which Gammer and Gruff had been hiding. 
He stooped to pick up their bows, which lay there, 
and found the slips of hide with the noosed ends, 
Picking these up, he returned to where Marian was 
busily engaged with Gruff, and held them up to view. 
There could be no mistaking the object for which 
they had been manufactured, and a faint smile ap- 
peared on Gammer's countenance on seeing the dis- 
covery that had been made. 

" Pray, what were these fine things for ? " inquired 

" To drag the buck home with," responded Gam- 

" It 's false," Robin replied ; " they were intended for 
honest men's limbs ; but rogues shall wear them." 

Robin deliberately proceeded to fasten Gammer's 
arms behind his back, to which Gammer made no 
violent opposition, contenting himself with threats 


barely audible from between his teeth. In like man- 
ner Robin bound Gruff. Then with Will's assistance 
he fastened Gammer's and Graff's quarterstaves be- 
tween them in such a manner as to form a bearer, on 
which they cast the buck's hide. Gammer protested 
against this fresh indignity, but on Robin offering to 
release him if he wanted another quarter bout, he 
gave in. 

The walk through the forest was anything but a 
safe one ; and Gammer, hoping to meet with some of 
his fellow-rangers, contrived to delay the journey so 
long as to make it probable that they would not 
reach Gamewell until long after sunset. Robin, on 
the way, fearing he had lost all chance of leading a 
quiet life with the foresters again, spoke out openly 
of the games he had had in the forest hunting the 
king's deer ; and expressing the hope that one day he 
should have another merry meeting with Gammer. 
But Gammer was not to be tempted into any disclos- 
ure of his future intentions, though he was meditating 
at the time a bitter and fearful revenge. Will like- 
wise made up his mind that there was not much mercy 
to be expected for him at the hands of the foresters 
in the future. Gruff grumbled terribly at the weight 
of the buck's horns, which had been laid upon his 
shoulders on account of his having escaped with 
fewer bruises than Gammer. He was on the point of 
imploring Robin to ease his shoulders a little for him 
when he was suddenly stopped by Gammer, who bade 
him bear his burden like a man, and not beg a favour 
from a thief. On the other hand, Gammer felt no 


compunction at asking a favour for himself, and seve- 
ral times at his request the party halted for a some- 
what lengthened rest. His real objection to Gruff's 
request was the fear that, if any readjustment of the 
burden took place, the heavier portion would be trans- 
ferred to him. Marian, as they walked along, was 
full of regrets at the unpleasant termination of the 
day's sport ; and secretly blamed herself as the cause 
of all that had taken place, because it was through 
her that they had visited the forest that day, and it 
was from her hand, moreover, the stag had received 
its death. She whispered her fears to Robin, and ex- 
pressed her deep sorrow to Will that she had been the 
unhappy cause of his receiving so many bruises in 
the fight with Gruff. Both Robin and Will laughed 
at her fears, and expressed their willingness to meet 
with any number of foresters, if she were only present 
to cheer them by her looks. At length they drew 
near Gamewell, and Gammer and Gruff shook the 
stag's hide from their shoulders, believing they were 
to be released there. But Robin insisted that they 
should see the inside of Gamewell House before he 
would free them ; and Gammer's remonstrance only 
drew from him a repetition of the challenge made at 
the commencement of their homeward journey, which 
now, as then, effectually silenced him. The skin was 
replaced on the qnarterstaves, and the party passed 
out of the forest, across the open glade in front of 
Gamewell, where the fight took place which left 
Marian an orphan. Here Robin blew a low blast 
on his horn, and Roger, with two or three men, 


opened the .timber gate and prepared to admit his 
friends, but when he saw the two foresters bound he 
was sorely puzzled. 

"Who have you got there?" inquired Roger. 

" Only a stag's hide," replied Will, quietly ignor 
ing the existence of the two captives. 

"But what do the foresters want?" asked Roger, 
preventing his men, at the same time, from laying 
the beams across the moat. 

" Oh, they only want to see the inside of Game- 
well House, and test the quality of your best brew,'* 
said Robin, laughing, with Marian in chorus. 

" It 's all right," added Marian ; " let us across, and 
we '11 soon satisfy your curiosity." 

Roger allowed the timbers to be placed into posi- 
tion for them, but was still amazed at the character 
of their companions. Over went Gammer and GruflE 
with dogged steps, and were led by Roger into the 
grass square, where they shook the hide from theif 
shoulders with unfeigned satisfaction. 

"Now release us," said Gammer; "your sport's 
over, but ours is to begin." 

" Nay," said Roger, " the sport is not over yet ; for 
I 've a mind to hang the pair of you for the death of 
Ivy Harper." 

Gammer laughed at the old man's threat, and 
demanded, in an angry tone, that they should at once 
be set at liberty, or he would revenge himself upon 
them. Robin commenced untying their bonds, while 
Marian brought them out a horn filled with liquor. 


She was about to present it to Gammer, when Roger 
called out angrily, 

" Stay, Marian ! would you feast the men who 
slew your father?" 

Marian shrank at the words, and the horn fell from 
her hands. The thought that, perhaps, one of these 
very men might have sped the fatal arrow, had never 
entered her mind ; and she stept back as though there 
was pollution in their touch. 

Gammer glared upon Roger, and ground his teeth 
with rage. 

" Old man," .he said, holding up his hand menacingly, 
" look to yourself and your household ; for I swear 
I '11 come here again before I 'm expected, and bring 
those with me who will have satisfaction for the insult 
your son has this day given the king's foresters." 

He turned on his heel as he spoke, and moved to- 
wards the entrance to the ground. 

" Stay," said Roger ; " hear me ; you Ve been here 
several times before, and you Ve always come like a 
thief, with your foresters at your back ; but, the next 
time you come, no arrow shall fly from my bow except 
at your head." 

Gruff, who had maintained perfect silence since they 
had met Roger, seemed intensely anxious to be off. 
It was palpable that the meeting he had had that 
day had cured him of any desire to try his skill in the 
same way again. They picked up their bows and 
quivers, which Robin had carried, crossed the moat, 
and then stopped. Robin saw them press their bows 


to their feet to string them, and greeted the action 
with loud laughter. He had cut the bowstrings par- 
tially through as he carried them in the forest, and 
the tension now snapped them. Baffled of their 
revenge, they retreated, shouting that on an early 
day both Robin and Will would meet with them 
again, under far different and greatly reversed cir- 


Robin is suddenly summoned Home His Father's Death The Barbed 
Arrow Friar Goodly's penitential Psalm -singing Robin's Mother 
dies The Burial of Robin's Parents The Attack upon Speed- 
swift Robin shoots the Sheriff of Nottingham They burn Speed- 
swift, and retire to Gamewell. 

llFTER the rough treatment Robin and Will 
given Gammer and Gruff, they antici- 
pated that the foresters would return very 
soon, bringing others with them, and that 
they would be subjected to another attack. Roger 
urged Robin to remain with them to assist in de- 
fending the place ; and Robin scarcely needed much 
entreaty, for his love to Marian made him dread 
leaving her to the rude chance of being killed by 
some stray arrow. He, nothing loath, consented to 
remain ; and they made preparations for the en- 
counter. The men who belonged to Roger were 
set to work to cut long poles, with which, in case 
of need, to push down any adventurous forester who 
might chance to cross the moat, and attempt to scale 
the outworks. One end was sharpened, so as to 


enable the person who wielded it to inflict a severe 
wound on the body of the foe. Fresh strings were 
manufactured for the bows ; new bows fashioned ; 
and a new stock of arrows, that had been season- 
ing for several months, were pointed and winged. 
In the winging of the arrows Marian was unusually 
expert; and with the assistance of Robin and Will 
in the pointing, a large supply was soon manufac- 
tured. Day by day a good look-out was kept in 
every direction, but there was not the slightest in- 
timation of the anticipated conflict. Four days 
passed, and on the afternoon of the fifth the look- 
out heard the sound of horse's feet in the forest 
The rider, if there was one, was spurring his steed 
at an unusual pace. The man gave the alarm, and 
the household were very shortly on a close look-out; 
Presently there emerged from amongst the trees a 
man on a bare-backed horse, who was immediately 
recognised by Robin as one of his father's dependents. 
He rode quickly up to the moat and called Robin 
Hood loudly. 

The man had evidently been riding hard, and both 
he and the horse appeared much distressed. Robin 
threw open the casement, through which poor Ivy 
Harper had been shot, and called out to know what 
the man wanted. 

"My poor master! my poor master!" the man 

" Well, well, what of him ?" urged Robin petulantly, 
his worst fears being excited. 

"He lies dead in the forest," replied the man. 


Robin heard this intelligence in silence. For some 
moments he stood gazing at the man and the horse, 
as though he had not comprehended the full meaning 
of the dreadful news that had been told him. He 
turned, as Marian laid an arm gently upon his'shoul- 
der, and then the pent-up feelings of his heart broke 
forth in weeping. 

" My father, my poor father ! " he exclaimed ; " and 
I not near him to draw a shaft in his defence ! " 

"God has left you one still," Marian whispered. 
w I have neither mother nor father left to me." 

"The foresters have murdered him on my account. 
The blood of a Saxon is as swine's blood to the 
Norman ; but," said Robin, clenching his fist, " my 
father's blood shall be avenged upon the proudest of 

" 'Tis bootless weeping," said Roger, kindly ; " re- 
pining will only dispirit us ; let us arm ourselves 
to avenge this fresh wrong. This is but the signal 
of what is about to be perpetrated. Our enemies 
are approaching." 

The messenger from Speedswift was brought into 
Gamewell, while Robin prepared to return home. 
He promised to come back immediately his father 
was buried, and bring his mother and the men with 
him, believing that Speedswift would not afford 
much opposition to a combined attack from the 
foresters. Robin bade them all a sorrowful adieu, 
and flinging himself upon the bare back of his horse, 
rode off, carrying in his hand his ever-constant bow. 
The man who had brought the intelligence trudged 


on foot by the horse's side, until they were out of 
sight of their Gamewell friends. On reaching Speed- 
swift, Robin was surprised to find his father's house 
occupied by a number of Norman vassals from the 
neighbourhood, who were drinking very freely of his 
father's liquor. Robin demanded what they meant 
by taking possession of his house in that way. Im-' 
mediately one of the number rose with a drinking- 
horn in his hand, and said his name was Bully 
the coroner ; and he had been summoned specially 
to hold an inquest on the body that had been found 
in the forest. Robin replied, that he had not sum- 
moned the coroner ; but as he was there, he presumed 
the law must have its course. Robin was much sur- 
prised to find that the news of his father's death had 
reached Nottingham before he had heard of it, and 
some strong suspicions with regard to the foresters 
flashed across his mind. Leaving the coroner 
and jury drinking, he sought his mother, and was 
told that she was in the forest with the body of her 
husband. She had been sitting nursing the head of 
her husband ever since the discovery of his murder 
early in the morning. He went into the forest, and 
nearly a mile away from the house he came upon 
his mother sitting, as he had been informed, with her 
husband's head resting on her lap. There were two 
dependents sitting near her, whispering to each other. 
Robin threw himself with tears upon the body of 
his father, and kissed his cold forehead ; his mother 
the while rocked herself to and fro, moaning, and 
seemed all unheedful of her son's presence. After 


the first burst of grief, Robin clasped his mother in 
his arms, and chided himself with much bitterness as 
the cause of his father's death. But she rebuked 
him for his words. It was the hard heel of the Nor- 
man that was destined to crush out the Saxon life, 
she said ; and if they complained to man, it was only 
to their enemy ; there was no help for them here. 
Robin hoped, he said, that she would live to see the 
case reversed ; but his mother shook her head sternly, 
saying she had few days to live. The men who sat 
on the grass a short distance off now approached, 
and asked Robin whether they should bear the body 
to the house. 

" After the coroner has seen him," Robin said ; 
"he's been sent for from Nottingham very sudden- 
ly, methinks." 

" The coroner 's already been here," one of the 
men replied, "and the jury's found" 

" That it 's only the body of a Saxon," his mother 
interjected, with some bitterness ; " and as no one is 
harmed, no one can be punished." 

Robin stood aghast at hearing this. The murder 
had been committed, the coroner informed, the jury 
brought, the inquest held, and the verdict given before 
even he had been able to reach the place. What 
had been bare suspicion before was now felt to be 
actual conviction that the hand by whom his father 
had been murdered was one of the foresters he and 
Will had so roughly used in the forest. 

Robin nodded assent to the proposed removal of 
the body, and the men raised the deceased between 



them, when a broken arrow fell from his side. Robin 
saw it fall, stooped, and picking it up, examined it 
closely. The barbed point remained in the side of 
his father, and Robin made the men lay the body 
on the ground again, while he very carefully with- 
drew it. That the two parts formed the one arrow 
there could be no doubt, and on comparing the broken 
ends, they were found to fit exactly. The arrow 
was deeply stained with blood. On examining it, 
Robin saw plainly that it was not of Saxon manu- 
facture. It was winged differently from a Saxon's 
arrow, and was finished with more care, as though 
it was designed rather for show than use. Closely 
examining it, Robin fancied he detected a mark 
scratched upon the wood. On discovering this, 
he quietly dropped it into his quiver, until he 
had more leisure to make out what the mark really 

" Lead on ! " Robin exclaimed ; and the men raised 
the body of their master between them, and with slow 
steps walked in the direction of the house. Dame 
Hood declined the proffered help that Robin offered, 
and strode silently beside the bearers. 

Her husband had left riome in the early morning 
for the purpose of shooting some birds, and the first 
intimation she had of the sorrow that had befallen her 
was by the arrival of the coroner from Nottingham 
about noon. She heard the intelligence without a 
word, but heaved a deep sigh, and forthwith started 
with some dependents in search of the body. Nor 
had she exhibited the least outward manifestation of 


grief, but a terrible silence seemed to weigh her down 
beyond the relief of tears. 

The coroner and jury had left Speedswift when the 
mourners arrived, and Robin was informed that Bully 
had carried off with him his father's horse, leaving 
behind in exchange an old mare scarcely worth the 
food it ate. 

A careful examination of the arrow with which 
his father had been killed enabled Robin to detect 
sundry marks, which convinced him that a forester 
had been the cause of his father's death. Between 
the feathers there was the outline of a crown, and 
befteath that a feather. About the middle of the 
arrow there was another outlined feather, and below, 
separated by the fracture which his father's fall had 
probably occasioned, there was the outline of a third 
arrow. Robin splintered the shaft and pieced them 
together, then fixed it in his quiver, with a solemn 
vow that he would never rest until he had discovered 
the owner, and with the same arrow revenged his 
father's death. 

We left Friar Goodly in a previous chapter com- 
mencing in a low note the singing of his penitential 
psalms. The latticed window of his cell looked out 
upon a quadrangle, and on exactly the opposite side 
was the bedroom of the abbot. Goodly borrowed 
from some of his brethren a few spare strings of beads, 
until the number three hundred could be counted 
up. These he hung on the window of his cell, 
taking down a string at a time; and when he had 
exhausted it, he hung it up on the opposite side of 


the window, and took down another string. The friar 
had a good memory, and could chant the whole of 
the Psalms without a book. This was, perhaps, not 
so much an accomplishment as a necessity, for his 
learning consisted of a very limited skill in reading, 
and he was but an indifferent hand as a copyist. 

All afternoon he chanted, and when the shades 
of evening overspread the abbey, he was still chant- 
ing. Evening prayers ended, and the brethren re- 
paired to their hard beds to sleep a few hours, the 
while Goodly kept on chanting. Friar Goodly heard 
the abbey bell ringing his brethren to the closing 
service of the day, and found, on making a hasty 
reckoning of his beads, that he had scarcely got 
through eighty of his psalms. Then it occurred to 
him that he had been going through the Psalms in 
succession, taking long and short as they came, and 
that, by pursuing the same plan, he would fain be 
obliged to borrow many hours of the night to com' 
plete his task for the first day, he therefore hit upon 
the expedient of selecting the three shortest psalms 
he remembered, and made up his mind to chant only 

The darkness of night succeeded the twilight of even- 
ing, and with quicker voice the friar sang his psalms, 
cheered by the thought that his happy expedient 
would considerably shorten his task. His rough 
straw bed had been taken from his cell, to add to the 
sum of his discomforts ; and the friar, not having that 
reverence for his superior that all good brethren were 
supposed to have, thought while he chanted that he 


was the most miserable of friars, and his superior the 
most tyrannical of abbots. The remembrance of the 
mode by which his delinquency had been discovered 
did not at all conduce to a loving frame of mind 
towards his brethren> and all these thoughts put to- 
gether naturally developed themselves into a very 
strong wish to serve them out all round. 

There had been no restrictions placed upon the 
mode or manner of his chanting, and so the friar, 
as midnight approached, when all in the abbey were 
hushed to repose, and the silence of night was broken 
only by the call of the jackdaw, or the hissing of the 
owl from amongst the ivy, opened his latticed window, 
and thrusting his head out, commenced in the most 
lugubrious of voices chanting his psalms. 

A noise so unusual roused the watchdogs in the 
quadrangle: and failing to comprehend what the 
noise meant, they threw up their heads and howled 
in chorus. 

When this concert was first commenced, the abbot 
was plunged in the enjoyment of his first sleep. Like 
all bachelors of a certain age, the abbot, if he missed 
his sleep during the night, lost his temper throughout 
the day ; and for him to pass a restless, sleepless night 
was a most unhappy thing for all the inmates of the 
abbey. The first notes of the strange chorus caused 
him to turn over on his couch; their continuance 
roused him partially; but, betwixt sleeping and wak- 
ing, they were so unintelligible as to make him fancy 
it was the abbey bell tolling for prayers. He rose up 
in his bed ; and then the howling of the dogs, with 


the strange bass accompaniment that proceeded from 
a voice he did not recognise, struck him with such 
horror, that his fringe of hair trembled and tried to 
stand upright in a circle round his head. 

The abbot was not a man given to many fears ; 
but he had one failing in this direction, which was 
a fixed belief that when dogs howled in the night- 
time, it was a sign that some member of the order 
was in danger. He had on sundry occasions afore- 
time summoned the inmates of the abbey, from a 
similar cause, to midnight prayers ; and in a short 
time the whole abbey was roused by the tolling of 
the bell, to meet in the chapel. 

On hearing the bell ring out thus suddenly in the 
middle of the night, Friar Goodly was so elated 
that he sang fifty psalms in a jubilant note ; and the 
brethren, as they crept by his door to take part in 
the unexpected service, wondered at the happy change 
that had taken place in the friar's voice. Before 
they returned, Friar Goodly had finished his allotted 
task ; and, stretched on his hard floor, was sound 

During the term occupied by Goodly in his peniten- 
tial exercise, he contrived to have the abbey roused 
very frequently, until at length his brethren, out of 
concern for their own rest, solicited the indulgence of 
the abbot towards their erring brother, and obtained 
some concession for him, which closed his punishment 
ere the full term had expired. For several succeed- 
ing months Friar Goodly observed the rules of the 
abbey with such diligence as to escape any serious 


punishment, and the affair of psalm-singing began 
to fade from mind. 

It was at this season that Peter Hood was slain ; 
and Robin, the morning after his father's murder, 
repaired to Narrowflask Abbey, to beg the favour 
of Friar Goodly's services to bury his father. The 
request was granted, and Robin, on his return home 
with the friar, told him the sorrowful story of his 
father's death. 

On reaching Speedswift, Robin besought the friar 
first to comfort his mother, who had scarcely spoken 
since his father's death. When the friar entered the 
great room, he found Dame Hood sitting by the 
body of her husband. 

" God's will be suffered," the friar said, as he 
entered the room. 

"Ay, and amen," responded the dame. Rising, 
she made as though she would have knelt before 
the friar, but staggering, would have fallen to the 
ground, had not Robin sprang forward and caught 
her in his arms. 

" Mother dear, be strong in God," he exclaimed in 
a piteous tone, as, assisted by the friar, he raised her 
upright, to carry her to a stool. But her head fell 
upon his breast. Her heart was broken. She was 

This fresh calamity drove Robin nearly wild with 
grief. He beat his forehead with his hands, and tore 
his hair in the extremity of his grief; while the 
friar's exhortations fell unheeded on his ears. 

It was the time of grief then, and consolation found 


no way to his heart. The bitter stroke of death, fall- 
ing so heavily and unexpectedly upon him, seemed to 
be trebly weighted as his heart smote him with being 
the cause of his father's and his mother's death. 

After some hours of passionate weeping, the re- 
membrance of all the sufferings to which they had 
been exposed by the unpopular Normans burned 
into his soul the determination to have revenge. 

A day elapsed, and then the friar accompanied 
Robin into the forest, to choose a spot wherein to 
lay the bodies of his parents. 

Not far from Speedswift there lived, in a poor, 
rude hut in the forest, a widow named Headlock, and 
her son, whom Dame Hood and her husband had 
often befriended when they were in need. Near this 
cottage they resolved to bury, and the widow's son 
lent a helping hand in digging the grave. The widow 
promised that so long as she lived she would preserve 
the spot from desecration, and assisted to build up a 
pile of stones, in the centre of which they planted a 
cross, a token to all who passed by that the spot was 
sacred to the dead. On their way home, Robin told 
the friar that he should leave Speedswift to his father's 
dependents, and go to Gamewell House, hinting, at 
the same time, his fears that the foresters had marked 
him as one of their next victims. 

The friar had obtained leave of absence from the 
abbey for four days; and after having buried Robin's 
parents, returned home with him. They entered the 
house by the ladder, which they drew up after them, 
according to custom, and descended into the large 


room, where, sitting round a great fire which the men- 
servants had kindled, they talked of those who were 

Evening was approaching, when they were startled 
by hearing footsteps outside the house. They listened 
and heard subdued voices muttering, and then, by the 
sound, they fancied there must be at least a score of 
men outside. They were only five in all in the inside, 
Robin, the friar, and three male servants. Nor 
could it be expected that the friar should take up 
a weapon, so that their actual strength to resist what- 
ever attack was intended, in reality was only four 

In an instant Robin scattered the burning logs of 
fire about the ground, so that they might not distin- 
guish from the outside the number of those within. 
While he was in the act of doing this, there com- 
menced a heavy knocking on the outside. Robin 
set one man to watch from the lower room anything 
that he might discover to be going on outside, and, 
with the friar and the other two men, crept up into 
the room above. 

Opening a small casement, the friar looked out, 
and demanded the business of him who so rudely 
knocked at the house of death, whereupon a shrill 
voice replied, " I 'm the Sheriff of Nottingham, and 
have come in the king's name to apprehend one 
Robin Hood, for slaying the king's deer and beating 
the king's foresters." 

" Truly the king's laws must be observed," replied 
the friar; "but God's hand is laid with grievous 


weight upon this house, and the night of mourning is 
sacred. Come in the morning, and the youth, I war- 
rant, will give a good account of himself." 

"Nay, that can never be/' screamed the sheriff; 
"give me and my men admittance, or we will see 
whether the king's command shall be obeyed or not." 

"You come not in the king's name," replied the 
friar, " or you would not have your men in hiding ; 
wherefore speak you of the king's law, when you 
come like a thief? Verily, look you to yourself; for, 
by my troth, the king shall know how his true 
subjects are murdered in his name, and oppressed 
grievously by his foresters." 

"You lie!" exclaimed a voice that belonged to 
some one in hiding, but which Robin recognised as 
that of Gammer. "You lie," the voice repeated, 
" you lazy friar, and art in compact with the villain- 
ous Saxons who kill the king's deer." 

" Nay, then," added the sheriff, " as you refuse us 
admittance, we will force it for ourselves." 

" Look out for yourselves, then !" shouted Robin. 

" Your blood be upon your own heads !" chimed in 
the friar ; and, stepping back, he closed the casement 

They saw the sheriff step back about fifty yards, 
and heard him summon his men ; when, in obedience 
.to his call, a crowd of nearly twenty men appeared, 
each armed for the encounter. 

A shower of arrows was discharged in the direction 
of the casement, which struck harmlessly. The be- 
siegers were divided into three parties, and took up 
different stations, with a view to distract the attention 


of the besieged as much as possible. Robin searched 
the ranks of the enemy with a keen and anxious eye, 
to discover if he could the whereabouts of Gammer, 
but failed to find him. 

The impulsive sheriff however, less cautious than 
the foresters, moved about from group to group, giving 
orders in an excited tone of voice, and gesticulating 
with both hands his threats against the occupants of 
the house. Robin, whose sole wish was to have an 
encounter with the foresters, hardly anticipated an 
attack from such a body of men under the sheriff; 
and he thought he would administer a little caution 
to the sheriff, whom he really did not wish to harm, 
and so fired an arrow, which carried his cap off his 
head. Robin saw him clasp his hand to his head, as 
though for the moment he was in doubt whether his 
head had not gone as well, and then heard an ex- 
clamation escape from the sheriff's lips, which in- 
dicated a very fervent resolution to repay the compli- 
ment paid him with interest Still the sheriff bustled 
about, and there was no sign of any intention to 
commence hostilities. Robin saw one group retire 
to the shelter of some trees, as he supposed, but in 
reality to obtain a large quantity of wood with which 
to kindle a fire and burn the house down. The wood 
was thrown down in a heap against a corner of the 
house ; and Robin stood at an opening, with his bow 
ready, and determined to shoot the first man who 
should venture to attempt to fire the wood. He 
was not kept waiting long, when, notwithstanding 
the hint that had been given him, he saw the sheriff 


approach with a lighted brand, with which to fire 
the wood-pile. He was within twenty yards of the 
house when Robin fired, and the sheriff fell heavily 
to the ground, the lighted brand falling from his 
hand and becoming extinguished on the grass. There 
was a shout of dismay amongst the sheriff's men ; the 
four little forces retreated to the cover of the forest 
trees, and in a short time four of their number, with- 
out arms, approached the house, waving their hands in 
signal of their pacific intentions. They were allowed 
to remove the body of the sheriff, who had been 
pierced through the heart, from the spot where it lay 
to the cover of the trees. After some time had 
elapsed, those in Speedswift saw that a rude litter of 
some sort had been constructed, on which the body of 
the leader was laid, and the whole of the men marched 
out of sight, taking with them the old mare left in 
exchange by the coroner. 

That so strong a body of men should have been 
deterred from their design by the death of one man, 
was so strange, that until many hours had elapsed 
Robin and his friends kept watch, believing that the 
enemy had merely retreated for a time, and would 
return as soon as they had conveyed the body of the 
sheriff to a place of safety. 

Amongst the number of those with the sheriff were 
Gammer and Gruff, and the design the former had in 
beating a retreat after the sheriffs death will be de- 
veloped in a subsequent chapter. They did not 
return to molest the few inhabitants of Speedswift ; 
and when midnight came, Robin determined to leave 


the house altogether, and escape to Gamewell. He 
asked each of his father's dependents in turn whether 
they would like to remain in the house and occupy 
the land ; but they each refused, and it was at 
length resolved that they should all repair to Game- 
well, leaving the friar to return to Narrowflask 

There was no property in the house that Robin 
cared to preserve, and they resolved to burn the 
house down when they left, so as to give their enemies 
no triumph should they return. Dry logs of wood 
were piled up against the four corners of the house 
on the inside, and Robin himself, after the others had 
let themselves quietly down, and stolen into the 
forest, set fire to these, and then followed his friends. 

They all journeyed in company for several miles, 
taking a wide circuit to evade pursuit if their escape 
should chance to be discovered. They saw, from the 
lurid appearance of the heavens, when they had ad- 
vanced to some distance in the forest, that the fire 
had taken effect ; and Robin strode silently on, his 
heart heavy as he thought of the sorrows of the past, 
and the dark fate that seemed to loom before him. 
They passed within sight of the walls of the old 
abbey, and when they left, Friar Goodly, as he be- 
stowed his blessing at parting on his companions, 
said he hoped their next meeting would be a merry 
one. Robin, however, was in no hopeful mood ; the 
death of his parents, and the disaster of the night, 
for as such he regarded the death of the sheriff, 
although he felt that it was richly deserved, made 


him very low ; and the fear that, through the wild 
freak they played upon Gammer and Gruff, there 
might be in store for Marian and Roger Gamewell 
still worse sorrows, oppressed his heart. 

After parting from the friar, they hastened on to 
Gamewell, which they reached in the early gray of 
morning; and, after carefully reconnoitring the ground 
to discover whether the foresters were about, they sal- 
lied up to the moat and roused the inmates. Their 
arrival was hailed with much joy by all at Gamewell ; 
but the story of what had befallen them made Roger 
Gamewell very uneasy. They were, however, in a 
Very good state to resist an attack ; and in the mean- 
time Roger despatched a messenger to Baron de 
Allsole, to acquaint him with what was taking place, 
and urging upon him the fulfilment of his promise of 
assistance in case of an attack being made by the 


Gammer elected Sheriff of Nottingham His cruel treatment of the 
Saxons Robin visits Nottingham The Shooting Match at Mans- 
field Robin and Will slay four Foresters. 

HE sheriff's attacking party, on recovering 
the body of their leader, held a consulta- 
tion as to what they should do ; some of 
the boldest advised that they should wait 
until the darkness of night had set in, and that then 
they should set the house on fire, and shoot each one 
as he was forced out by the flames. Others knew 
from experience that a Saxon's shaft was a very un- 
pleasant thing to encounter, and were afraid lest by 
some sudden sally more of their number might be 

Gammer, with a number of his men, including 
Gruff, had really formed a portion of the attacking 
party ; the honour of leading the whole, however, 
had been claimed by and allowed to the impetuous 
sheriff, who had been sacrificed to his own indiscre- 
tion. The command of the party, after the sheriff's 
death, naturally devolved upon Gammer, and he 


ultimately decided that they should return to Nott- 

Late in the night they arrived before its walls, and 
were admitted. The sheriff was an important func- 
tionary in the town, and his duties were of a most 
arduous and varying character. The town of Nott- 
ingham was divided at this time into two districts, 
one called the Saxon, and the other the Norman 
quarter, and one of the most difficult duties the 
sheriff had to perform was to maintain peace be- 
tween the inhabitants of the two quarters. 

Each quarter in turn elected the sheriff, who was 
to regulate the affairs of both parties. The sheriff 
now dead was a Saxon, and one who had ruled his 
own party so rigorously as to earn for him the nick- 
name of Judas. When the tidings of his death was 
spread, there was very little sympathy felt for him 
anyvAiere ; and in the Norman quarter of the town 
there was much rejoicing at the prospect of having 
one of their own number to rule. Though the office 
was one of many privileges, yet it was one of much 
danger, and sometimes considerable difficulty was ex- 
perienced in finding a suitable person who was willing 
to assume its functions. In this instance, however, 
it was not so ; and it was soon noised about in the 
Norman quarter that Gammer, the king's head-forester 
for the Nottingham district, would be chosen sheriff, 
and would willingly accept the responsibilities. For 
Gammer had envied Sheriff Judas the honourable 
position, and his insatiable avarice pictured the post 
as one that would yield him boundless wealth. Hav- 


ing the charge of the forest, he had drawn largely 
from its resources for the supply of the leading Nor- 
man families. In this way he had made such progress 
in their affection as to render his election sure. Nor 
had his attentions been confined to the inhabitants of 
the Norman quarter entirely, but he was regarded 
with favour by the governor of the castle ; and the 
drawbridge was never lowered with such alacrity 
as in obedience to the summons of some of Gam- 
mer's men loaded with a present of game for the 
governor and the soldiers. 

The mention of Gammer's name as a candidate 
was well received by the inhabitants, and he was 
declared duly elected after the usual preliminaries 
which were customary on such occasions. 

Gammer celebrated his election by giving a grand 
feast to the people, on which occasion a fat buck was 
roasted whole in the market-place ; and everybody 
cut and came again as often as they liked. 

The Saxons, who had never reason to look with 
respect on their late sheriff, regarded with no little, 
fear the election of Gammer as his successor. The 
first act of Gammer's new position was to order the 
burial of Sheriff Shrimp at the sole expense of the 
Saxon quarter of the town. The cost of the funeral 
was levied by an indiscriminate seizure of goods from 
the houses and shops of the richest Saxon traders, 
which were sold by Gammer at the Norman cross. 
This proceeding gave intense satisfaction to the Nor- 
mans, while the Saxons regarded it with considerable 
alarm, as indicative of an unfriendly spirit 


A suitable residence was selected by the new 
sheriff, in the heart of the Norman quarter ; and he 
flattered himself into the belief that the town had 
obtained the services of a pattern sheriff. Amongst 
the duties of this personage were the apprehension 
and punishment of a certain class of offenders against 
the king's laws, and regulations for the good govern- 
ment of the town. He had the custody of the gates, 
and the choice of the watchmen and soldiers for the 
towers. He had to summon the city to bear arms in 
case of need on the part of the king, and was ex- 
pected to render efficient aid to the governor of the 
castle on all occasions when his services might be 
required. In past years this arrangement had caused 
considerable difficulty between the inhabitants of the 
town and the governor of the castle, through the 
divided allegiance of the two the town siding with 
one party in the state, and the castle with the other. 
The town then punished the castle by withholding 
supplies, and the latter retaliated by sallying into the 
town and setting part of it on fire, or seizing a num- 
ber of the principal townspeople, whom they held as 
hostages until the needed supplies were forwarded. 
The sheriff also exercised summary jurisdiction over 
strangers and wanderers who passed through the 
town, and levied a certain amount of toll at all the 
great fairs and markets which were held. An addi- 
tional task had recently been added to the office of 
sheriff, which was to do honour to the king's justices, 
who, during the reign of Henry II., for the first time 
commenced a system of itineracy throughout the 


kingdom for the settlement of the more important 
class of offences, and the adjustment of disputes 
which were continually arising between the barons. 

The various engagements of his new office 'fully 
occupied the whole of Gammer's time. He was 
appointed sheriff late in the autumn of 1178, and 
during the following winter he found no time to carry 
out those plans which he had designed for the pun- 
ishment of Robin Hood and the Gamewells. 

The winter was an unusually hard one, and very 
little business was transacted. 

It was customary for the poor people to hoard up 
stores of food to last them through the winter months, 
when there was little work of any kind to be found. 
If these small hoards failed before the frosts and 
snows departed, then there were the religious houses, 
where summer's plenty always reigned, and from 
their abundance the wants of the lowest classes were 
amply supplied. The winter lasted longer than usual 
this year, and crowds of hungry poor were daily to be 
met with within the precincts of the abbeys and 
monasteries. One kind of return, which was exacted 
from able-bodied men amongst the number of the 
applicants, was to cut timber for the use of the reli- 
gious house that had befriended them ; and this was 
considered the full value of the relief administered. 
Gammer ordered that no Norman should be so em- 
ployed for the future; and while the poor of both 
quarters were fed from the same source, the Saxons 
only were expected to provide timber. When the 
monks complained that they did not get a sufficient 


quantity of wood to supply their wants by this 
arrangement, the sheriff ordered that the value of 
each day's relief should be tendered at the abbey 
before the relief itself was obtained. Thus the poor 
Saxons were kept working all day in the forest hew- 
ing timber for themselves and the Normans ; and if 
the monks had not treated them with more con- 
sideration than the sheriff did, they would certainly 
have starved. At the same time, this regulation was 
sowing seeds of animosity in the hearts of the Saxons, 
which were destined to bring forth bitter fruit in 

Many days elapsed, after Robin reached Gamewell, 
before they heard of the appointment of Gammer to 
the shrievalty of Nottingham, in place of Sheriff 
Shrimp, shot at the attack on Speedswift. During 
these days the time of all the inmates was fully 
occupied in making preparation for defence. When 
day after day went by, and still no foresters came, 
Roger determined to send one of his men into Notting- 
ham to glean some news. This was just a task that 
Robin loved, and he volunteered to go ; but Roger 
would not hear of it, pointing out that the foresters 
had now such a thorough description of his person, 
that he would be sure to be taken and hung at once. 
Marian added her entreaties to those of Roger and 
Will Gamewell, and ultimately Robin gave way. 

The son of the old widow Headlock had been resid- 
ing at Gamewell for some few days ; a young man, who, 
by his skill in beating his opponents at quarterstaff, 
had earned the title of Scathelock ; and he volunteered 


to undertake the proposed journey to Nottingham. 
His offer was accepted ; and, disguised in the garb of 
a beggar, he sallied forth. 

After two days' absence he returned, and told to 
the astonished household the news of Gammer's ele- 
vation to the post of sheriff. The man had heard of 
the seizure of the Saxons' goods for the defrayal of 
the late sheriff's funeral, and had seen sufficient to 
make him conclude that there were hard times in 
store for the poor Saxon inhabitants of Nottingham. 

During the long winter months that followed, the 
people at Gamewell found profitable employment, 
for what otherwise would have been weary days, in 
replenishing the stock of articles for their personal 
wear. Marian was an adept in spinning, and there 
were two women who could weave very well. There 
were three women in the household altogether, and 
with the accession of Robin and three men, they 
numbered eleven men and three women. Under 
Marian's tuition the women, who had been but indif- 
ferent spinners before, became so expert as to enable 
them to provide a sufficient stock for the wants of the 
whole household. The monotony of the daily life at 
Gamewell at this season of the year was varied by an 
occasional hunt in the forest ; but the deer were so 
tame that there was little real sport to be enjoyed. 
On these occasions, however, several members of the 
household went in company, for fear of an unexpected 
attack from the foresters. 

After several months had passed, and nothing fresh 
had occurred to mar the even tenor of their life 



Robin one morning stole unawares out of the house 
and repaired to Nottingham, to learn for himself the 
existing state of affairs. 

This happened at the very time when every day 
the Saxons were in the habit of going into the forest 
to cut wood for the abbeys. Robin had never seen so 
many men employed before, and on soliciting alms 
from some of them, to keep up his disguise as a 
beggar, was told, with an ironical laugh, to go to 
Sheriff Gammer. " Nay," said another, " do not add 
to the sorrows of a man worse off than ourselves." 

" If you want to be cast by your heels," said he, 
turning to Robin, "go to the sheriff; but if you want 
to feed a Norman's mouth and your own, just give us 
a turn with this axe at the stump of this tree, and 
I '11 share whatever I get with you." 

" Ay, that I will," said Robin ; " but these are bad 
times, when a Saxon has to work that a Norman 
may eat and play." 

" It is even so," the man replied ; " and I fear worse 
times are before us." 

Robin bent to his task with a hearty goodwill, and 
before the afternoon closed they had got between 
them a very large heap of timber ready for use. He 
afterwards assisted the man to drag the wood into 
the town, and deliver it at the abbey. 

Robin was invited to lodge that night at the 
Saxon's house, and the story of the sufferings to 
which the poor Saxons were subjected made a deep 
impression on his mind. On the following morning 
he went out into the forest again with the wood- 


cutters, but, after working a short time, struck off 
into the forest, on his way back to Gamewell. Robin 
was well chidden for running away ; but laughed at 
his friends' alarm, vowing that he was a match for 
twenty foresters any day, and that the Saxons in 
Nottingham would be the best friends that the forest 
rovers had ever yet found. 

Roger was strangely agitated by the news of the 
treatment the poor Saxons were receiving in Nott- 
ingham. He said the young men might live to see 
better days, but that his own would be few, and full 
of trouble. 

At length the weary season of winter was past, and 
the return of spring called the early flowers into new 
life, while the trees put. forth their leaves, and began 
to assume the glorious garb of summer. In all the 
villages round about the forest the return of spring 
was celebrated with a festival on the 1st of May. 
Then it was that the scattered country people flocked 
into the villages, and servants and villains, or de- 
pendents, met together, and engaged in games of 
wrestling, racing matches, battling with quarterstaves, 
throwing bars or quoits, and shooting with bows and 
arrows. On these occasions jugglers would display 
their conjuring tricks, bards sing songs, and beggars 
ply their vocation briskly. Very often the rich barons 
or landowners in the neighbourhood would send con- 
tributions to the merry-making, in the shape of 
barrels of strong drink, and sheep, pigs, or venison, 
to be roasted for the delectation of the whole com- 
pany. Prizes were given to the most skilful wrestler 


and the best shot with the bow and arrow ; and at 
night the whole would close with a rather rough 
sort of dance. In the village of Mansfield, Baron de 
Allsole had offered a handsome belt for the best shot, 
and thither Robin and Will determined to go to try 
their skill with those they might chance to meet. 
Roger was not willing that they should go, but they 
promised faithfully that they would keep clear of the 
foresters, and would only give a blow in return for 
one. So he consented. Marian, who had listened to 
the conversation, fearing they would both meet with 
the foresters and be beaten by them before they 
returned, made Robin promise he would take his 
horn beneath his doublet, and sound a sharp note on 
it for assistance. Robin and Will started forth in 
the disguise of labourers. 

The village was crowded with people, all busying 
themselves in the different games. A large butt was 
set up, and marks affixed for the archers. While the 
ground was being measured, a Norman knight was 
engaged to act as judge. In all, there were twenty- 
four men who stept forward to shoot for the prize, 
which the judge buckled round his own waist till the 
close of the contest. Robin and Will were among 
the number of those who were to shoot. It was 
declared that an arrow each should be shot, and the 
best amongst the whole should then shoot a second 
arrow, and so on until the two best shots were finally 
selected to contest for the prize. A small black ring 
was painted on the butt, and two large outer ones. 
In the first round all outside the third rin^ were 


declared off; in the third all had to lodge an arrow 
within the middle ring, or they were disqualified. 

All the arrangements having at length been con- 
cluded, the shooting commenced. A great crowd 
gathered round the archers, and for a time the Saxon 
and Norman bards and the quaint jugglers were 
without audiences, and laid aside their vocation until 
the contest was concluded. In another part of the 
village other contests were going on, such as wrest- 
ling and throwing weights, or leaping; but archery 
was by far the most popular of all. The competitors 
had already fired two rounds each, when the har- 
mony that had up to that time prevailed was rudely 
broken by a number of foresters, who came up to the 
spot, accompanied by four packhorses laden with 
game, which they were going to take as presents to 
the castle of Nottingham, to the religious houses in 
the town, and to the sheriff. 

Seeing the archers, they noisily insisted on being 
allowed to take part in the contest. The foresters 
prided themselves on their superiority with the bow, 
but were, in reality, very inferior to the ordinary 

There was at once a tumult. The Normans who 
had been competing, and especially those who were 
already out of the contest, insisted that the strangers 
should be permitted to shoot, while those who were 
in the contest as strongly objected to such an unfair 
proceeding. On counting them, there were found to 
be fourteen foresters, and as, if they had all shot, the 
contest would have been delayed too long to suit 


their purpose, they agreed, on the suggestion of 
the judge, to nominate six of their number who might 
compete. This was done; and the remainder un- 
loaded the horses and then broached some ale-casks 
which were to have been divided equally amongst the 
people in the afternoon, and in huge horns filled with 
the liquor, drank to their comrades' success. 

At the first round, five of the foresters were dis- 
qualified, the people hailing with loud shouts their 
discomfiture. The prize now lay between the skill of 
the only four who had not been disqualified. Of 
these, one was a strange youth unknown to any pre- 
sent, a second was one of the foresters, and the 
remaining two were Robin and Will. These four had 
to shoot within the inner circle. Amid shouts from 
the people the forester and Will fell back, having 
missed; and the prize lay between Robin and the 

The defeated forester, who had been shooting well 
up to the last, on stepping back was surrounded 
by his companions, who, excited by the drink they 
had been taking, were gesticulating furiously, and, 
with many angry expressions, appeared to be devis- 
ing mischief. 

Robin and the youth having been each allowed a 
little rest, now stept forward to shoot for the last 
time. There was a little delay before the first arrow 
was fired, because Robin wanted the youth to shoot 
first, and signified his wish by a wave of his hand, 
being separated from each other. The youth, how- 
ever, resolutely refused, and Robin, accordingly, 


planted one foot firmly on the ground a little in ad- 
vance of the other, took aim, and then suddenly let 
fly his arrow, striking the very centre of the target. 

Men and women stretched their heads forward in 
silence as the arrow flew, but when it struck the 
target, a loud shout of approval burst from their lips. 
Silence was again restored while the youth took his 
aim. Close observers noticed a little trembling in his 
limbs, and when he shot, the arrow struck outside the 

There was a rush made by the people to where the 
victor stood, and in a moment the youth, whom Robin 
called for loudly, was lost in the -crowd and disap- 
peared. Robin was raised on the shoulders of a 
sturdy Saxon, and, with loud shouts, was borne to 
where the judge sat, where he was solemnly invested 
with the prize-belt, affixed to which was a quiver full 
of arrows. Here other sturdy Saxons framed a rough 
sort of seat, on which Robin was placed, and then 
borne on men's shoulders through the village towards 
the cross. 

The foresters, however, threw themselves in the 
way of the jubilant crowd; and when they were in 
consequence jostled, laid about them with stout oak 
staves, which had been bound together on the horses' 
backs, and many heavy blows were inflicted by them. 
In the crush that ensued, Robin was thrown down, 
and before he could get upon his legs, the forester 
who had nearly won the prize took it forcibly from 
his waist. Others crowded round, and kicked and 
struck Robin as he lay on the ground. A general 


fight ensued, in the course of which, however, the 
foresters, by keeping together and using their quar- 
terstaves, appeared to come off victorious. Hoisting 
their champion, with the prize-belt round his waist, 
on to the back of one of the horses, all of which they 
had hastily reloaded, they started off through the 
village, cheering lustily as they went. 

In the course of the fight, Robin, who was in great 
danger, caught sight of Will, who stood up manfully 
against great odds ; and, to his astonishment, he also 
gained a glimpse of the youth who had so nearly 
carried off the prize which Robin had won, doing 
battle on his behalf. On recovering somewhat from 
the beating he had received, Robin and Will started 
off quietly, as if to return home, firmly declining the 
invitation of the people who crowded round them, 
and who would have had them remain to the after- 
noon's feast. Leaving the village, they struck off into 
the forest ; then, by a short cut, doubled round the 
village, with the determination to intercept the 
foresters before they could reach Nottingham. This 
they did, and came upon them when they were about 
three miles from the town. They hid themselves at a 
short distance from the road along which the foresters 
were travelling. From their concealment they could 
hear the foresters talking over the morning's sport, 
as they termed it, while they exulted in their prowess, 
and laughed at the pleasure the story would give 
Sheriff Gammer when they told him. Robin could 
see the man who had stolen the belt walking a few 
yards apart, and in advance of the others, as though 


he was the leader of the party ; and while he and 
Will were discussing how they should act, they were 
astonished to hear the whiz of an arrow, and the next 
moment to see the man fall to the ground. This 
strange occurrence surprised Robin and Will almost 
as much as it did the foresters, and, taking advantage 
of the alarm it excited amongst the men, Robin and 
Will shot together into their midst as they stood in a 
group, while a third arrow flew from the same quar- 
ter whence the first proceeded. The foresters ap- 
peared to be in a great state of consternation at this 
unexpected attack. The group opened as the arrows 
flew amongst them, and Robin saw that another 
besides the leader now lay on the ground, while two 
others appeared to be wounded. A couple of the 
horses stood still in the roadway, while the other 
couple galloped off in the direction of Nottingham. 
Robin now emerged from the screen behind which 
he had shot, followed by Will, and made towards the 
men, who, on recognising him, scampered oft" into the 
forest. The man who wore the prize about his waist, 
and who was wounded, hastily pulled off the belt, 
flung it on the ground, and made off with his com- 
rades. Another man, who had been wounded, also 
ran off, with an arrow sticking in his right arm. 
They were, however, not so fleet as to escape alto- 
gether, and two more arrows brought down each 
their man. 

On nearing the spot where the other two men lay, 
they saw the youth who had proved in the morning 
Robin's stoutest opponent. He stood still until 


Robin and Will came up, but did not speak to them. 
Robin held out his hand to grasp that of the 
stranger, when, suddenly pausing, in the greatest 
amazement, he exclaimed, "Marian!" 

Will gazed into her face speechless, and seemed to 
be more astonished than his companion. 

" Robin," Marian said in a serious voice, " I knew 
ere you started you would be beaten by the foresters, 
and the fear of meeting with them prevented my 
accepting your invitation to witness the shooting 
match, which I must have done in my own proper 
person ; but I was not willing that you should either 
carry off all the honour, or incur all the risk, by your- 
self, so I stole after you in this disguise. But," she 
added, " I did not expect to have had the oppor- 
tunity of partially avenging my father's death to-day, 
as I have done by wounding two of these foresters." 

Robin declared that Marian had saved his life at 
the fight in the village, by drawing off some of his 
assailants, and promised in future that she should 
share his dangers, if she very much wished. 

Will busied himself in examining the faces of the 
four dead men, and recognised them as amongst 
those who had attacked Gamewell when Ivy Harper 
was shot. Robin examined all the quivers that the 
men wore, taking out an arrow from each ; but he 
did not find one that corresponded with the spliced 
arrow he carried in his quiver. 

" These men," said Will, " shall be left here as your 
father was left in the forest, Robin, when he was so 
cruelly murdered ; and let those that care for them 


fetch them away. They've paid this day a just debt 
for many a poor Saxon that they or their fellows 
have slain." 

There were two horses still standing with their load 
of venison in the roadway, and these they determined 
to take back with them to Gamewell. They threw 
off the loads from their backs, and Marian and Robin 
mounted one, while Will appropriated the- other. The 
dead foresters were left where they fell, ,nd the only 
article carried away was the belt that belonged to 
Robin. One of the foresters carried a large sum of 
money in a bag at his waist, but they scorned to take 
it from him. 

Leaving the ground where the dead lay, they put 
their horses into a gentle canter, and rode back to 
Gamewell. The sound of horses frightened some of 
the household at first, and the appearance of the 
riders seemed to perplex Roger extremely. 

He heard the recital of their day's adventures in 
silence, and shook his head gravely. 

" It is well," he said, when the stories of the three 
were ended, " that you are all returned alive and 
sound to Gamewell; but you bring me news that 
bids me prepare for a journey longer than I have 
ever yet taken a journey from which I return no 

Marian tried all she could to cheer her adopted 
father, and chided him for his fears ; but nothing 
could uproot the presentiment that oppressed his 


The Sheriffs Expedition in Search of the Rebels The Gamewell Fight 
Night Attacks upon the Besiegers The last Fight Destruc- 
tion of Gamewell Death of Roger Gamewell Arrival of Robin 
and his Party at the Greenwood Glade. 

[HE surviving foresters made the best of their 
way as rapidly as possible to Nottingham, 
where their appearance excited quite a 
commotion, and attracted a large crowd, 
amongst whom the most extravagant rumours began 
to circulate about some terrible and bloody attack 
upon the foresters by an armed band that was then 
marching to attack the town. The foresters were led 
to the residence of the Sheriff Gammer, to whom 
they told a tale which did not lack the element of 
exaggeration, since they represented that they had 
been intercepted and robbed in the forest by a band 
numbering more than a hundred men. The sheriff 
ordered the gates of Nottingham to be instantly 
closed, and mounted double guards on the walls. As 
a further preservative of public peace, he ordered that 


twelve of the oldest and most revered Saxons in 
Nottingham should be seized and lodged in the com- 
mon jail as hostages for the safety of the town. In- 
formation was sent to the governor of the castle, who 
laughed at the messenger as he told him that there 
was an army of Saxons marching on Nottingham 
with a view to seize the castle. Bonfires were lighted 
in the open parts of the town, and many of the in- 
habitants armed themselves with all sorts of weapons 
to defend the place against the anticipated foe. 
During the whole night watch was kept, but there 
was no sign of the approach of a hostile foe. 

When the morning came, the sheriff ordered a 
band of men to prepare to go into the forest for the 
purpose of reconnoitring. A reinforcement was 
solicited from the castle, but curtly refused by tht 
governor, who recommended the sheriff to fight his 
own enemies with his own people. The sheriff 
accordingly made a levy upon the Norman quarter 
of the town, and succeeded in getting up a band 
between eighty and ninety in number. He ordered 
them to the forest, to make what discovery they could 
of the position and strength of the enemy. The 
foresters undertook to lead the band to the spot 
where their comrades had fallen. An expedition of 
this sort had not left Nottingham for several years, 
and the walls were crowded with people to see them 
start. After leaving the town, the force divided, and 
forty men were despatched to the neighbourhood of 
Mansfield to learn what they could there. 

The rest of the party marched along the high- 



road until they arrived at the spot where, on the 
previous day, the rangers had succumbed to Robin, 
Marian, and Will. There they found the dead bodies 
of the foresters, each pierced with a single arrow. 
The bodies were examined, and found not to have 
been touched with a view to robbery; and on the 
person of one there was still the bag of gold which 
the band knew he carried. The foresters had kept 
secret the real object of the attack made upon them, 
and their disgraceful conduct at the village festivities. 
On their way to the spot, the foresters that accom- 
panied this party told marvellous stories of the num- 
bers of the foe they had encountered ; how that the 
Saxons had suddenly appeared in the roadway 
before them, and demanded that the laden horses 
should be given up to them, with all the arms they 
carried ; how that the foresters had resisted and 
fought for several hours, and ultimately escaped with 
two of their horses, leaving their comrades dead upon 
the field. The foresters were confident that they had 
slain three of the enemy for every one of their num- 
ber dead. But they were sorely puzzled, on the 
ground being examined, to account for there being no 
marks of bodies having lain there, except those dis- 
covered. Litters were constructed with branches of 
trees, on which the bodies were placed, and the 
band made the best of their way back to Notting- 
ham. On their return, the bodies were laid out in St 
Michael's Church to await burial. 

Meanwhile, the other division, after a good long 
march, arrived in the neighbourhood of Mansfield. By 


the advice of their guides they then separated, and 
a few entered the village, in twos and threes, and 
from opposite quarters. This was accomplished in 
such a way as not even to rouse the attention of the 
inhabitants, who, like all village populations, 'were 
quickly out into the roads to look upon the most 
trivial variation from their quiet life. Some of the 
leaders went up to a large house in the centre of the 
village to make inquiries about the supposed rebels ; 
but, in answer to the question, were told that they 
had had no rebels since the foresters broke the people's 
heads because they were beaten at the archery. 

By this time the others arrived, and the presence of 
so many strangers attracted the notice of the people, 
and they came out of their houses to find out the 
cause of such an influx. Nor were the Normans slow 
to enter into conversation with the people about the 
engagement in the forest, the slaying of the foresters, 
and the anticipated attack upon Nottingham. The 
day was hot, the men had had a long march, were tired 
and hungry, and these things had put the would-be 
warriors in anything but an amiable tempen 

The people listened with open mouths to the 
account of the battle, and expressed themselves un- 
commonly pleased with its result, vowing that the 
whole of the rangers deserved to be hung for their 
brutal conduct on May-day. 

The origin of the foresters' misfortunes thus came 
out ; and the party destined for attack looked exceed- 
ingly foolish and annoyed at the false position in 
which they were placed. Their guides some of the 


identical foresters were soundly rated for their lying 
tales, which had caused so much unnecessary labour. 
After having refreshed themselves, the whole com- 
pany started on their return to Nottingham, and, 
having partly regained their temper, lightened the 
homeward journey by laughing at, and ridiculing 
most unmercifully, the crest-fallen heroes. 

When the sheriff was informed of the true state 
of the case, he upbraided the foresters with having 
occasioned him so much trouble. Still four of their 
number had been slain, though the sheriff surmised 
that the assailants were but few. 

Ultimately the men confessed that they had seen 
but three in the forest ; and gave such descriptions of 
them and their skill in shooting, as convinced the 
sheriff that their disguise was assumed, and that they 
could be none other than Robin Hood and his two 
companions. He accordingly determined to make up 
two parties that should attack both Speedswift and 
Gamewell at the same time, and destroy both the 
houses and their inmates. He ordered that the Saxon 
hostages should be released ; and withdrew a part of 
the guards from the walls. 

The story of the expedition and its result speedily 
circulated throughout Nottingham, and was a source of 
much merriment to all except those directly concerned. 
After a few days had elapsed, the sheriff announced 
his intentions respecting Speedswift and Gamewell ; 
and in order to attract a sufficient number to carry 
out his project, he promised to pay a certain amount 
per head for every Saxon captured in the two houses. 


This had the desired effect, and a sufficient number 
soon offered their services. 

The sheriff's movements, however, became known 
in the Saxon quarter of the town ; and intelligence of 
what was about to take place was conveyed to Game- 
well by a friendly Saxon, who intended also to have 
gone on to warn the inhabitants of Speedswift, but 
hearing of the destruction of the house, volunteered 
to remain at Gamewell and assist in defending the 
place. His offer was gladly accepted ; and again 
preparations were made for a vigorous defence. There 
ivere at this time in Gamewell twenty-one persons in 
all. Of this number four were women ; Robin brought 
three men with him after burning Speedswift, the 
Nottingham Saxon made the ninth, and of the re- 
mainder, ten were dependents belonging to Roger 
Gamewell. They had sufficient food in the house to 
serve them for a long time, much longer than the 
Visit of any attacking force would be likely to last. 

The morning after they received the intelligence of 
the contemplated attack, their numbers were increased 
one more by the unexpected arrival of Friar Goodly. 
It had been his lot to be present on two occasions 
when fighting had been going forward ; and this time 
he had dropped in accidentally, just to make inquiry 
about the health of the family. Hearing from them 
of the anticipated fight, he determined to remain, to 
give, he said, what assistance he could. Will laughed 
at the idea, but was gravely rebuked by the friar, 
who urged that, although by his creed he could not 
handle carnal weapons, his spiritual endowments 


might prove consolatory in a certain trying hour. 
Although this arrival added another mouth to be fed, 
(not that this, as it happened, was a matter of any 
moment,) without imparting strength to the defence, 
all rejoiced in the presence of the friar, whose social 
qualities were of such a nature as to make him a 
welcome guest in every Saxon household. 

The preparations in Nottingham having been com- 
pleted, the sheriff marched out with a band of a 
hundred men to reduce the two obnoxious strong- 
holds of the Saxons. A change now took place in 
Gammer's tactics, and instead of assailing the two 
houses simultaneously, he decided on sending Gruff 
with half the men to demolish Speedswift, and watch 
Gamewell himself with the other half till Gruff's return. 

Gruff was by no means clear as to the best mode of 
attacking Speedswift ; but made up his mind on the 
way thither to try first what promises would accom- 
plish. His surprise, however, was very great when, 
on arriving at the spot, he found nothing remaining 
but a few charred stumps. He was not at all dis- 
appointed at this, because his recollection of the 
encounter with Will and Robin was still vivid. On 
returning to the sheriff, and acquainting him with 
what they had discovered, the sheriff resolved to 
postpone his attack upon Gamewell until morning; 
and the night was spent in boisterous revelling, in 
anticipation of the prize they were about to secure. 

In accordance with the usual rule observed on such 
occasions, the sheriff on the following morning pre- 
sented himself with signs of truce before the house, 


and, calling upon Roger Gamewell, who shewed him- 
self at the upper casement, related the nature of his 
visit, and demanded immediate admittance. This 
was unhesitatingly refused. He then required the 
surrender of Will Gamewell and Robin Hood, that 
they might be tried by the king's justice at Notting- 
ham for shooting four of the king's foresters. 

To which Roger replied, that they had not slain the 
king's foresters, but four thieves, who had robbed and 
beaten them ; and that they meant to defend them- 
selves from all wolves in sheep's clothing. 

Robin, thrusting his head out of the casement, chal- 
lenged the sheriff to a game at quarterstaff ; while Will 
bade the sheriff take care that he didn't cut another 
thong to bind his own hands. The sheriff was observed 
to be unusually fidgety during his parley with the be- 
sieged, as though he had had good reason for fearing 
so close a conjunction with the house; but when Robin 
presented his bow through the casement, and made 
as though' he would shoot, the sheriff turned round 
and fairly scampered off amongst the trees, followed 
by his escort, in a most hasty and undignified manner, 
and amid uproarious laughter from those who had 
caused his retreat. 

The reduction of the place was considered a matter 
of no mean importance, requiring a considerable 
amount of patience. Within, every corner was well 
guarded, and every loophole occupied by an archer. 
There were immense stones heaped up against the 
gate that led from the moat into the place, and piles 
of stones were also laid on the floor of the upper 


apartment, to hurl upon the heads of any of the more 
bold assailants who should be hardy enough to cross 
the moat on that side, and attempt to climb the em- 
bankment. This was not anticipated, however, as the 
water in the moat was so deep that only a good swim- 
mer would have ventured into it, and during the day 
he would have afforded such a mark for an arrow, as 
would be certain to result in his death. 

Without, there was considerable excitement, as the 
men stood for a time looking at the place they had 
undertaken to capture and destroy. 

On seeing their leader running back to them after 
the parley, they hid themselves behind the trees, scarce 
divining the cause of so sudden and hasty a return. 
Some of the older hands, nevertheless, could not re- 
frain from laughing heartily at the comical expression 
of terror which overspread their leader's face. On 
getting well under cover of a tree, he called out in a 
loud tone for his men to shoot, which they did, throw- 
ing nearly two score of arrows in the direction of the 
casement. But the besieged were too sharp for them, 
and the arrows fell harmlessly. The shooting on the 
part of the besieged was, however, not so ineffective ; 
for if by chance an arm or a leg was exposed for a 
moment, an arrow would be sure to strike the unfor- 
tunate limb. In this way so many were wounded the 
first day of the attack, that the sheriff thought it ad- 
visable to send a messenger to Nottingham to obtain 

The skill of their adversaries made the besiegers 
uncommonly wary; and it was soon evident that other 


measures besides watching by day, and firing an occa- 
sional arrow, would have to be resorted to before the 
place could be reduced. 

At night the besiegers drew themselves off into the 
forest, and returned at daybreak. This continued 
until the arrival of recruits, to the number of fifty. 
It was then determined that they should remain night 
and day before the house. They had anticipated an 
easy capture, so that the courage of the besiegers wag 
considerably damped in the outset, by the resistance 
they met with. 

They made up their minds to be as comfortable, 
under the circumstances, as possible, and, at night, 
lighted a number of fires amongst the trees, round 
which they sat, enlivening the tedium of the watch by 

The first and second night Roger gave orders that 
his friends should watch the enemy well, but on no 
account fire an arrow at them, believing that, if they 
did not molest them, on a subsequent night the 
besiegers would become careless of keeping under 
cover, and that they might then be able to create some 
havoc amongst them. Roger's advice was followed 
for three nights ; but on the fourth night there were 
so many tempting marks presented, that he caused 
the whole of his band to let fly simultaneously at 
several groups round the fires. They did great exe- 
cution, no fewer than thirteen being seriously wounded 
by the arrows. Soon afterwards, the fires were all 
extinguished, and on the succeeding nights they were 
not rekindled. Thus was one of Roger's wishes ful- 


filled. Another wish was that the men would be 
associated together more in the night-time after this, 
which turned out to be the case. He had not ventured 
to entertain the thought of a sally, because the fires 
lighted up a considerable space of ground, which would 
have discovered any attempt to surprise them that he 
might have planned. Watching day by day through 
the loopholes was wearying work, and although the 
besieged threw away no chance that presented itself, 
yet the odds were too great to enable them to lessen 
very perceptibly the number of their opponents. It 
was therefore resolved that they should try what a 
night attack would effect. Roger had a sufficient 
number of swords to furnish every man with one, but 
it was determined that no more than eight should ven- 
ture out the first night. 

A cloudy night was desired, and the seventh proved 
favourable to their design. The watchers of the 
attacking party were at such a distance from the 
house as not to be able to discern what might be 
going on at the moat ; and certainly never enter- 
tained any idea of the besieged making a sortie. 

The gate was carefully opened, and the men one 
after the other dropped silently into the moat, and 
swam across. They then crept along the ground 
until they came within the precincts of the forest, and 
taking a long turn, came upon the foe in such a way 
as to place them between themselves and the house. 
There were no watchmen on the inner side of the 
forest, so that the eight were enabled to get right 
into the midst of them before they found out that 


their supposed security had been invaded. The 
sleepers started up from their grassy couches in 
terror, only to receive flesh-wounds from swords 
wielded by unknown arms. Amidst the consternation 
such an attack produced, many a severe wound was 
inflicted, which incapacitated a large number from 
taking further part in the siege. The Normans, panic- 
stricken, and not discriminating between friend and 
foe, struck out wildly with their fists, and heavy blows 
were inflicted by friend upon friend in the confusion 
that prevailed. The moment Roger caught the sound 
of the tumult, he lighted an immense pile of wood, as 
had been previously arranged, in the centre of the grass 
plot, to serve as a beacon for the brave little band. 
There was no resistance, however, offered to their 
passage; and save a few rough tumbles over the sleep- 
ing or wounded bodies of the foe, they met with no 
serious hindrance. Through the very centre of the 
force they passed, dealing blows on every hand ; then 
out into the open space, and away to the moat, before 
anything like a combined opposition could be pre- 
sented to their progress. One after the other they 
dropped into the water, and swam or struggled 
through, and were drawn up, well-nigh exhausted, 
into the stronghold. All on the bank crossed safely, 
no pursuit being yet organised; and the gate was 
slung to and barricaded again. Then they discov- 
ered, to their great regret, that one of their number 
was missing ; and, on inquiry, it turned out to be the 
very man who had brought them the intelligence 
from Nottingham. 


Robin proposed that they should at once make a 
second dash into the midst of the enemy ; but Roger 
would not hear of such a rash proceeding. 

From the shouts and tumult going on amongst the 
foe, it was evident that they had secured the prisoner, 
that all their number were now fully roused, and that, 
had Robin's proposal been adopted, it would assur- 
edly have resulted in a serious loss to them. 

When morning dawned there was an unusual bustle 
amongst the besiegers ; and when the sun was fully up, 
it was seen, through the loopholes in the wall, that 
the Normans had fashioned a halter, which hung 
down over a branch of a tree. There could be no 
doubt of their intention ; they were going to hang 
the unfortunate prisoner. 

At length the poor fellow was brought out by two 
of the foresters, while a third was seen to ascend the 
tree for the purpose of adjusting the thong for the 
execution. While he was doing this, the two who 
held the prisoner placed him against the tree, and 
prepared to bind his arms ; the others stood in a half 
circle behind, so that the inhabitants of Gamewell 
might have a full view of what was going forward. 
They, however, had calculated without their host, and 
the hangman on the tree offering a fair aim for a 
marksman, Robin drew an arrow and discharged it at 
him. The arrow sped quickly home, and lodged in 
the side of the man, who was seen to fall heavily on 
to the heads of the men that were preparing to bind 
their prisoner. There was a scuffle for a moment on 
the ground, and the next the Saxon was seen to 


spring to his legs and run towards Gamewell. The 
besiegers were on the alert, and started in pursuit; 
but a shower of well-aimed arrows drove them behind 
the trees again, and the Saxon, panting from his race, 
leaped into the moat, and clung to the gate. In a 
few moments this was opened, and the poor fellow 
dragged inside. 

There was great exultation at this feat in Game- 
well, and manifest annoyance exhibited by those out- 
side. The would-be hangman, between the wound 
and the fall, was killed, and his assistants escaped 
with broken heads only. 

The escaped captive complained bitterly of the 
treatment he had received, and told them that nearly 
twenty men were wounded in the assault. 

After several days, a second and more important 
night-attack was planned, under cover of which it 
was resolved to desert Gamewell, and fly into the 
forest. It was determined that they should take 
with them all their available force except two men 
and the friar, whom they left to fire the house, and 
then conduct the women into the forest when they 
heard the fighting commence, Marian to act as 
guide. Wood was piled in readiness in various cor- 
ners, and everything arranged for the second and 
final sortie, which Robin was to conduct. 

The two horses that Robin and Will had brought 
back with them after the attack upon the foresters, 
were conveyed across the moat. To each a rider had 
been appointed, who was to bear a torch, while a 
second man was to hold on to the saddle, being armed 


with a sword for their mutual defence. The others 
then crossed, Robin, closely followed by Will and 
Roger, leading the way. They hid themselves in the 
grass until the horsemen with the torches should 
have reached the foe. They had not long to wait. 
The light of the torches soon roused the Normans, 
who seized their weapons to defend themselves. The 
horsemen shouted as they waved their torches in 
the air ; and, galloping into the midst of the foe, the 
footmen dealt deadly blows, while the horses, plung- 
ing about, scattered the men in all directions. 

At this moment Robin and his band dashed in 
from the opposite side. They bore with irresistible 
fury down upon the enemy wherever they were most 
thronged, and cut their way through. Robin, Will, 
and Roger, who were in advance, left easy work for 
those who followed them. In the height of this, 
flames were observed to shoot upwards from Game- 
well, which intimated to Robin and his friends that 
the house had been deserted, and that Marian and 
the rest were then in the forest, on their way to the 
Greenwood Glade. The Normans, though they out- 
numbered the Saxons nearly sixfold, were panic- 
stricken. The glare of the torches, the attack of the 
swordsmen, and the fire at Gamewell, all conspired to 
produce consternation in their midst, and they fled 
precipitately, leaving many of their number dead 
upon the ground. 

When Robin saw there was no fear of their being 
followed, he gave orders to make for the forest. The 
horsemen immediately extinguished their torches, and 


the whole party struck into the heart of the forest. 
Then it was that Roger complained of being hurt. 
The old man had been wounded very grievously in 
the beginning of the contest by a spear, and had been 
bleeding profusely. Now when the excitement -was 
over, he fell exhausted on the ground. A halt was 
ordered, while the old man's wound was dressed ; but 
all their skill was unavailing. He had fallen in a 
state of insensibility from loss of blood ; and the only 
signs of consciousness that he gave was the waving 
of his right hand, as though he was triumphing in 
their victory. He then expired. There was no time 
for useless mourning. The body was lifted upon 
one of the horses, and the party hurried on into the 
forest still further ; and it was not till after a march 
of several hours, when the sun had risen high up 
in the heavens, that another halt was made. 

A shallow grave was dug, in which the old man 
was laid, amid the universal grief of the party. They 
piled up a small heap of stones at the foot of a tree 
that stood near the grave, and then pursued their way 
with heavy hearts. 

Robin had no difficulty in leading his friends to 
the appointed rendezvous, where they found Marian 
and all her companions, excepting the friar, who, 
having accompanied them into the forest several] 
miles, had returned to his abbey. The news of the 
death of Will's father cast a deep gloom over the 
whole party, that their late triumph was wholly 
unable to dispel. 


The Forest-Home of the Rovers Robin chosen Leader Alan discov- 
ered in the Forest A Love Story and Adventure Robin ducks 
the one-eyed Porter. 

1HE expedition to Gamewell, and the object 
it had in view, were matters of public no- 
toriety in Nottingham, and any intelligence 
was looked for with much anxiety. The 
prolonged absence of the sheriff gave great uneasiness 
to the leaders in the Norman quarter ; while amongst 
the Saxons, stories of the reverses they met with were 
circulated freely. The name of Robin Hood began to 
acquire power amongst the Saxons, and he was men- 
tioned as the great hope of the oppressed. 
* Robin and Will had made no-secret of their treat- 
ment of Gammer and Gruff, in Sherwood ; the story 
was told in Mansfield, and quickly spread, with sun- 
dry exaggerations, to Nottingham. 

Robin's success at the archery meeting also soon 
reached the town, by the very party sent to oppose the 
fictitious army; and there was still more rejoicing 


amongst the Saxons, who made no secret of their joy. 
When the sheriff put a .price upon Robin's head, 
alleging that he had killed the four foresters, there 
was not a Saxon in all Nottingham who would not 
have risen to his rescue had he been brought" to the 

Finally, there came facts about the siege of Game- 
well, stories of the reverses suffered, accounts of the 
sufferings inflicted, told by the wounded people them- 
selves as they returned to the town, all which invested 
this affair with an importance that could only have 
been equalled by the siege of a large town. 

After the final affray on the morning, when Game- 
well was burned, the sheriff determined to return to 
Nottingham, in preference to engaging in a pursuit. 
He wanted to recruit the numbers of his men before 
hazarding a meeting with Robin in his forest-home. 
Besides, the number of his wounded was so great, that 
he did not feel justified in encountering a band very 
much inferior in number, but fighting for liberty. They, 
therefore, slowly commenced their return to Notting- 

The appearance of the men could not have been 
more dispiriting. Worn out by their time of inactivity 
and hardships, they^ grumbled terribly; and as they 
had failed in their enterprise, they very plainly ex- 
pressed their determination never to be led into such 
a wild chase again. Such of the wounded as could 
walk were obliged to do so ; but they hobbled along 
with long faces, as they thought of the wounds they 
had got for their pains. There were many who were 


so grievously hurt as not to be able to walk, and for 
them rude litters had been constructed, and the able- 
bodied took their turn in carrying them. This made 
the journey a very tedious one, and the sheriff was 
afraid of allowing a division of his forces, for fear ot 
being surprised by Robin and his party. When they had 
come within a few miles of Nottingham, the whole party 
halted, while a messenger was sent forward to bring a 
number of carts for the transport of the wounded. 

There happened to be a fair going forward at the 
time, so some of the sheriff's men seized the requisite 
number of carts, and compelled the owners to go out 
and bring in the sheriff and his party. 

The news of their near approach was quickly spread 
in the town. The walls and streets were crowded with 
Saxons and Normans to see the fighting men, and 
shouts of derisive laughter from Saxon throats so 
incensed the Normans, that a tumult ensued, which 
was with difficulty suppressed. 

The same day, Robin and his friends were holding 
a council together on their future course. In the first 
place, it was necessary to select a secluded and suit- 
able spot on which to build a house. This was done, 
and they then resolved to erect one which should have 
a moat round it, and be fortified in as strong a manner 
as possible. It was finally arranged that the whole 
party should remain to assist in erecting the house, 
after which the men who had wives were to have 
houses built or found for them in the neighbourhood 
of some of the villages bordering on the forest, where 
they would be in a position to obtain information 


respecting any future movement on the part of the 
sheriff or the foresters adverse to Robin and his friends, 
and where they would also be ready to render any 
assistance in their power. 

As they sat round a huge fire, which they kindled 
near the foot of the Greenwood-tree, on the night of 
their arrival, Will was the first to suggest that they 
should choose Robin as their leader, and obey him as 
such for the future. They were all equal now, he con- 
tinued, as neither he nor Robin laid any claim to the 
services of their father's dependents ; and it was the 
wisest course they could adopt to select Robin, who 
was the most skilful amongst them with his bow, his 
quarterstaff, or his sword, to be their leader. 

Robin protested that Will, having brought the great- 
est number of men together, was best entitled to the 
leadership of the band. 

Will, however, would not listen to the proposal, and 
by common assent Robin was declared their captain. 

Whereupon all present swore, on Robin's bow, that 
they would be true to each other, and to him, obeying 
all his orders, and observing with strict secrecy all his 
counsel. Robin made them also swear that they would 
rob no poor man of his money or his goods ; that the 
weak should always have their assistance against the 
oppressor; that they would never strike a Saxon 
unless first struck ; and that no woman or child, 
whether rich or poor, should ever, under any circum- 
stances, be injured in person or in property. They 
furthermore vowed that they would keep no more of 
what they might get than sufficed for their ordinary 


wants; but would distribute amongst the distressed 
and needy. 

The following morning the whole party of men set 
to work to cut down trees, and afterwards to prepare 
them for building purposes. Many \veary weeks 
were spent on this work, during which they heard no 
sound of horn in the forest, nor had communication 
with any beyond their own circle. 

At length a large room was constructed on the 
same principle as Robin's old residence at Spe^d- 
swift, where the entrance was obtained by means of 
ladders from the outside. A large open space of 
ground was marked out in front of the house, and the 
moat indicated by lines cut in the turf. But the ex- 
cavation of the latter was a work of so much labour 
that they determined to postpone its completion until 
they had supplied themselves with a greater quantity 
of the necessary implements. They found little diffi- 
culty in supplying themselves with food ; and what 
they lacked in the way of corn for bread, Will sup- 
plied by several days' journeys, in the guise of a 
beggar, to Nottingham. At length the time came 
for the four married men to leave them. Robin had 
secured them cottages well situated for obtaining 
information upon any subject affecting himself and 
his friends, which would also serve as retreats in case 
of need. Each man was furnished with some money 
at parting, with which to purchase present subsist- 
ence, and a few implements of husbandry. There 
now remained in the Glade, Robin, Will, Marian, and 
twelve men. 


On completing the house, they exercised themselves 
every day in the use of the quarterstaff, or the 
sword, until they became very proficient in the use 
of each. Robin and Marian, after their share in the 
practice of the day, would saunter off into the forest, 
their quivers hanging at their backs, under the pre- 
tence of shooting, but many a time returning without 
even a bird hanging from their belts, the time having 
passed in a much more pleasant way than shooting 
at game. There had long been a tacit understanding 
between them, the fruition of which their union . 
had often been spoken of; nor was it thought, in the 
earnest simplicity of those times, at all improper for 
them to 'spend whole days in each other's company, 
wandering in the forest or living in the same house. 

The troubles through which they had each passed 
made them full of care about their future. Robin had 
urged Marian to leave him and go with one of the 
couples to a neighbouring village, where he could 
visit her until their future became more bright and 
their prospects more settled. Marian's love, however, 
which knew no guile, made her refuse most resolutely 
her consent to such a proposal. They had known 
each other so many years, and loved each other with 
such a constant love, and with the entire approbation 
of their friends, that she would not think of parting 
now that unpleasant days had fallen upon him ; and 
she was allowed to remain to superintend the duties 
of their new home. She little thought how her pres- 
ence and her deeds were destined to inspire a whole 
band of men, 


One day, as Robin and Marian were walking 
through the forest, far away from the Greenwood 
Glade, they were astounded at hearing the sound of 
a harp accompanied by a man's voice. They paused 
and listened. The voice, which was a rich mellow 
one, was marred by the deep emotion of the singer ; 
and while they still listened, it ceased suddenly. 
Marian was desirous that they should return imme- 
diately, fearing that if they were discovered unplea- 
sant consequences might arise. Robin believing that 
the voice proceeded from some one in distress, deter- 
mined to see from whence it came. They both pre- 
pared, in case of danger, to defend themselves. 

Stepping cautiously fonvard, they at length came 
upon the cause of their surprise. A young man, with 
bare head, was stretched upon the ground with a 
missal open before him. He lay beneath the shadow 
of some fine oak-trees, and near the bank of a tiny 
stream, that flowed from a spring close by, and ran in 
low murmurs past, as though to soothe his distresses. 
As they caught a glimpse of him, it was evident that 
their approach had roused him, for his head was 
raised and half turned in the direction whence they 
came. Observing this, Robin stept fonvard, followed 
by Marian, and the young man sprang to his feet. 

His astonishment was great at seeing two strangers 
standing beside him ; but their appearance did not 
seem to cause the slightest alarm, although he must 
have seen that they were armed, while he was without 
any means of protection. His harp was now hanging 
on a low bough over the stream. 


Robin asked if they could be of any assistance to 
him in directing him, as they fancied he might have 
lost his way. But he replied, with much courtesy, that 
that part of the forest was not unknown to him, 
although he had penetrated further into it than he 
intended when he set out 

The young man started with evident surprise when 
Robin, in answer to his question, told him his name 
was Robin Hood. The mention of the name seemed 
to quicken the very pulses of the stranger, and with a 
changed manner he told Robin and Marian the cause 
of his distress. 

His name was Alan, and he lived in the Dale, a 
lovely spot not far off, where he had made love to a 
fair Saxon maiden, whose beauty, the pride of the 
Dale, had been the cause of all his sorrow. They 
were betrothed, he said, and loved each other fondly ; 
but her parents had determined to break off the 
match, because an old Norman lord, of much wealth, 
residing in Dale Castle, whose name was Baron de 
Younglove, had offered to bestow on her father 500 
marks, besides three acres of land, to have her in 

This had made her parents look with indifference 
on the suit of Alan, whose sole property consisted of 
a few acres of land, and the guerdons which rewarded 
his skill as a harper. So Alan had been ordered 
never to cross Hardfist's threshold again. Yet, never- 
theless, he had managed to get interviews with Ellen, 
whose hatred of the proposed match with the baron 
was as great as was her love for Alan. Notwith- 


standing the adverse circumstances in which they had 
thus been placed, they had sworn to be constant to 
each other ; and Ellen had pined through the weary 
hours of the day at home, under the watchful eyes of 
her parents, while Alan had found some consolation 
for his overburdened feelings in rambling into the 
forest, where, to the wild notes of his harp, he had 
tuned his love-sorrows. 

" Can it be possible," Marian said, " that Saxon 
parents sell their child to a Norman baron for money 
and land?" 

" Love, happiness, and life," pursued Robin, " can- 
not satisfy the greed for gold in any breast where 
Mammon holds his sway. But," he added, " two young 
hearts may baffle three old heads yet." 

" Let us go to the old baron," said Marian, " and 
make him give her up." 

All three laughed heartily at the proposition. 

" There is a plan," said Alan, " I have thought upon, 
and Ellen has agreed to it, but which, for want of the 
assistance of a trusty friend, I have not been able to 
mature. It is for her to leave her home quietly, and 
without exciting suspicion, before dawn of the day 
fixed for the wedding, three weeks hence, and to join 
me at the outskirts of the forest. We will then " 

A smart clap on the shoulder, from Robin, startled 
and interrupted him. 

" I have it," said Robin ; " he shall go with us, 
Marian, to our forest-home; and," turning to Alan, 
" I promise you assistance, and a successful issue to 
your enterprise," 

ROBIN HOOD. 1 1 1 

Marian seconded the proposal to accompany them 
with a hearty good-will ; and Alan, inspired with re- 
newed hope, shook off his dull spirits, and amused his 
new friends with a description of the old baron who 
was trying to carry off his love. 

Advanced in years, crabbed and infirm as he was, 
according to Alan's account, they wondered how love 
of any sort could find a dwelling in the heart of such 
a man. Nor were there stories wanting of the cruel 
treatment his first wife had received at his hands, to 
which whispered words were added of ghostly forms 
haunting the castle. 

That night, sitting beneath the old Greenwood-tree, 
Robin unfolded his scheme whereby they might carry 
off the bride elect in the very sight of the old baron. 
Marian was to be the medium of communication be- 
tween them and Ellen. 

A few days after the discovery of Alan in the forest, 
there was a fair in the Dale, which Marian attended in 
the guise of a harper. 

The very moment she commenced playing near the 
dwelling, which had been well described to her by 
Alan, the door opened, and there came out a long thin 
man with a scowl upon his countenance. 

This was Eli Hardfist, Ellen's father. He seemed 
at first to be under the impression that the minstrel 
was Alan, who had many a time in happier days thus 
announced his coming to his love. Hardfist was evi- 
dently taken aback at the sight of Marian, and the 
scowl relaxed wnen she greeted him with the most 
winning of smiles, and a low courtesy. The melody 


which Marian played attracted the attention of Ellen. 
It was a Saxon love-song used only between lovers 
a song that Alan had sung to her many a time be- 
neath the forest trees. She hastened to the door, 
and ere her father had reached Marian, was by 
his side. An unaccountable feeling of sympathy 
prompted her to invite Marian to partake of their 
hospitality for a few days. Hardfist, surprised at 
his daughter's animation, and delighted with the 
appearance of Marian, supported the invitation, and 
Marian, with a feigned unwillingness, entered the 

" Father," Ellen said, when the day was half gone, 
" yon harp of mine" she had had lessons on it from 
Alan " has been silent for many a week ; but only 
let this girl stay and teach me, and my sorrow will 
fly away, and I shall no more grieve after Alan." 

" Beshrew the harp ! " said her mother ; " of what 
good is harp-playing to a girl that 's betrothed ; let 
her learn other duties now, that are more fitting the 
mistress of a castle." 

" Nay," replied her husband, " Ellen will have no 
such drudgery as you speak of; let her learn her 
harp, it is a lady's accomplishment ; and there are 
servants enough, I trow, to do her bidding at the 

Ellen shuddered at the very mention of the word 
" castle," and would have said something that might 
have betrayed her secret clinging to Alan, but at 
a glance from Marian she restrained herself. After 
a little persuasion, her mother consented, though not 


without expressing her dislike at having a wandering 
harper brought into the household, although she knew 
it was by no means a rare occurrence among the 

Marian had managed to exchange a few words 
with Ellen, which made her determined to retain 
Marian. But all difficulties were swept away by the 
mother's consent, and thus Marian came to be in- 
stalled as one of the household. 

Marian's whole story was soon told Ellen, who 
caught eagerly at the proposal ; but vowed that, if it 
failed, she would throw herself from off the highest 
battlement of the baron's castle on the day of their 

Marian's not returning on the day she set out for 
the Dale, gave Robin hopes that she had succeeded 
in obtaining an interview with Ellen. Alan was at 
first overjoyed at the plot, which promised such a 
fair conclusion ; nevertheless, though it had been 
understood between them that if Marian was received 
into the house, she would remain until the time named 
for the wedding, ugly fears and unkind doubts would 
start up in his mind, making him a prey to the most 
terrible attacks of melancholy. One moment, the 
future would present only bright imaginings, and, the 
next, misgivings filled him with despair. 

To calm Alan's doubts upon the subject, Robin 
undertook to see Marian. He threw over his forest- 
dress, a ragged robe, which reached almost to his feet, 
slung two empty wallets across his shoulders, and took 
a staff in his hand. He, moreover, concealed about 


his person a short sword to defend himself in case of 
necessity, and his horn to summon help. Alan was 
to remain in the forest, but within sound of the horn ; 
and carried another himself, with which to alarm the 
male residents at Greenwood House, who would re- 
spond to the call by their armed presence at the 
place of danger. These precautions having been 
made, Robin started for the Dale. Alan accom- 
panied him half-way, and there awaited his return, 
whiling away the time, and trying, but in vain, to 
overcome his anxiety, by discoursing music with his 
harp, or by dreaming of the hidden future. 

Robin had little difficulty in finding the house 
where Eli Hardfist lived ; and going up to the door, 
he knocked boldly at it, too boldly, perhaps, for his 
assumed character of a beggar. To his surprise, it 
was opened by Marian, who looked at him full in the 
face, as though puzzled about his identity. 

" Is it well ? " he whispered. 

" Yes," Marian replied ; " I remain until the wedding, 
and we meet you in the church ; Ellen is happy and 
full of joy at the prospect of her escape." 

Here a shrill woman's voice called out to know 
what Marian meant by parleying with a varlet at the 
door, to which Marian replied, that a poor man 
should never be turned from an honest man's door, 
and begged some meat for him. There was a degree 
of excitement in Marian's voice, that convinced Ellen 
it was a messenger from the forest ; so she filled a 
horn with liquor and carried it to the door. She 
eyed the beggar-man with much eagerness, hoping, 


and yet fearing, that it might be Alan ; and when 
Robin returned her gaze with a steady look, and she 
saw that it was not Alan, she drooped her head and 
blushed. Robin noted the change in her features, 
and as she handed him the horn, whispered one word, 
"Alan!" which convinced her that her surmise was 

"He is well," Robin added, as he withdrew the 
horn from his mouth, " and will not fail to meet you 
at the Dale Abbey." 

Ellen was so bewildered that she answered not a 
word, but her manner told her joy ; and Robin said 
no more, fearing lest her mother, who kept glancing 
at the door, should become suspicious. After obtain- 
ing his bread and meat, which he put very carefully 
away in one of his wallets, Robin left the house and 
proceeded on his way down the Dale, in order to 
avoid suspicion. Passing through the vale, he took a 
turn round, and passed by Baron deYounglove's castle. 

Knocking at the gate, he asked for food, which a 
porter, blind of one eye, answered by threatening to 
pitch him into the moat if he did not begone. This 
sharp rebuke so roused Robin's temper that, forgetting 
his disguise, he nimbly laid hold of the man and 
pushed him headlong into the moat before he had 
time to help himself. Up came the man to the sur- 
face, with the muddy water streaming down his face, 
and with many grimaces, as he spat the mud out of 
his mouth, he waded to the bank. While he was 
doing this, Robin, who waited on the bridge to see 
whether he could swim or not, intending to help him 


out if he could not save himself, bade him treat the 
next poor man with more civility than he had shewn 
him, and then started off before the porter had time to 
alarm the inmates of the castle, or summon some of 
the baron's retainers to chastise him for his conduct. 
The man drew himself slowly out of the moat and on 
to the drawbridge, from whence he eyed, with little 
satisfaction, the retreating figure of Robin, who was 
running at a pace faster than beggars ordinarily 
travelled. When Robin .was clear out of sight, he 
calmly surveyed his own figure ; and, with evident 
disrelish, slammed the gate after him as he entered 
within the precincts of the castle. 

At the same time, the baron was engaged summing 
up the total cost of his new bride ; and with a long 
array of figures before him, which a learned monk 
had cast up, h"e was beginning to experience the first 
charges to which, in prospect, he had committed him- 
self. The result was not at all satisfactory, and to the 
monk's account he muttered, "Preposterous!" "Too 
much, too much," as though he had been estimating 
the cost of some new lands, or the expense of some 
alterations to his castle. To all the baron said, the 
monk gave a silent assent ; and crossing himself, 
thanked Heaven no such vain thoughts, as those the 
baron had, ever entered his mind. 

Robin, who kept on at a brisk pace, impeded only 
by fits of laughter at the deplorable appearance of the 
one-eyed porter, shortly found himself within the 
borders of the forest. He soon found his love-sick 
friend, and tormented him very much by insisting 



upon relating his adventure with the porter before he 
would give an account of his interview with Ellen. 
Alan, bursting with anxiety, bore Robin's humour 
with ill -concealed impatience; and declared, after 
Robin had told him every incident attending his 
interview with Marian and Ellen at extraordinary 
length, that it was by far the shorter story of the two, 
and that he was the most tantalising love-messenger 
that had ever passed between Saxon youth and 


The Bishop of Hereford and Abbot Scaregrace A Droll MarriagT 
Ceremony The Baron and the Bishop have a Dance A Mid- 
night Adventure Robin and Alan retreat in safety to Sherwood. 

[HE time was now drawing near that had 
been appointed for the wedding at the 
Church of Dale Abbey. The baron was 
making great preparations to celebrate the 
event with due pomp ; and, contrary to his usual 
custom, had even determined that the people of the 
village should participate in his joy, by drinking 
some ale, brewed specially, and having shared 
amongst them the leanest kine his steward could 
find in all his herds. 

The Bishop of Hereford happened, when the event 
was within a week of celebration, to pay a visit to 
the abbot of Dale Abbey, touching a dispute they 
had had with each other about some land. Baron de 
Younglove hearing of this, sent a message to his 
lordship, inviting him, on the conclusion of his busi- 


ness with the abbot, to spend a few days at the 
castle, and perform the marriage ceremony. The 
abbot consented to this arrangement cheerfully, 
on the baron promising to pay full fees to both ; 
and the bishop came to be a guest at Younglove 

Three days before the marriage, his lordship had 
parted from the abbot in a very unfriendly mood. 
Both claimed a title to the same land, and each 
refused to give up possession to the other. The 
original owner had managed to obtain a loan from 
both for the same land. The abbot, whose name 
was Scaregrace, parted from the Bishop of Hereford 
with the fixed determination to hold to the land, 
which lay conveniently near to his abbey, and had 
set the bishop at defiance, in the presence and to the 
delight of his monks. 

The baron received his guest with all the politeness 
of which he was capable, considering the severity of 
the attack of gout from which he happened to be 
suffering. Fresh rushes were strewed on the floors, 
and the very best silk counterpanes he possessed 
were used to adorn the bishop's bed. 

To prevent all possibility of misadventure, Robin 
resolved to confide their secret to Friar Goodly, and 
give him a special retainer to conduct the ceremony 
in the church in case the bishop, officiating on the 
part of the baron, refused under compulsion to per- 
form the ceremony after the change which would be 
made in the bridegroom. 

Discussing this with Alan, the latter suggested 


that it would be a fit and proper opportunity for 
Robin to marry Marian, a thought which, after due 
consideration, Robin entertained, and determined to 
act upon. Robin accordingly repaired to Narrow- 
flask Abbey, to see Friar Goodly. 

Unfortunately for him, he could not get access to 
the friar, as he was then passing through a severe 
penitential exercise in his cell for some breach of the 
abbey rules. This was unfortunate, because he found 
that the term of the penance covered the day ap- 
pointed for the marriage. A friendly friar, whom 
Robin met, while discoursing upon abbey rules in 
general, and the breach of certain rules in particular, 
pointed out to Robin the precise cell occupied by his 
offending brother, which was the third from the gate- 
way. Robin could see the latticed grating dis- 

After the friar had gone, Robin drew an arrow, 
and, blunting the head, shot it at the window. 

At that precise moment the good man was on his 
knees, holding his string of beads in his hand ; but 
through the heat of the day and the weariness of the 
flesh he was dozing. The arrow passed through the 
grating, and the feather tickled the nose of the friar 
as it flew past and struck the stone wall, then re- 
bounded and fell on his bald head. His nose being 
tickled, caused him to sneeze, and the blow on his 
head completely roused him. There lay the arrow 
before his face, so he dropped his beads and picked 
it up. It was blunted he saw, for which he was 
devoutly thankful ; and after consideration, came to 


the conclusion that it could only have been shot 
from one bow, and that that bow belonged to Robin 

He opened his latticed window, and catching sight 
of Robin beyond the gate, waved a handkerchief, to 
which Robin replied by holding his bow out with his 
cap on the end. 

That evening, when all was quiet, the friar stole 
out of the abbey, passed through the gate, with his 
arms folded and face bent, as though he was going 
into the fields to meditate, and was quickly joined by 

The result of their interview was that the friar 
determined to leave the abbey then and for ever, 
and share the fortunes and misfortunes of his friend 
Robin ; and he also willingly consented to unite- 
Robin and Marian, and Alan and Ellen, at the same 

At length the important day arrived, to the great 
joy of Alan, who could scarcely realise the hope of 
the bright future that Robin persisted in picturing for 

The baron had not seen his betrothed since the 
espousal had been agreed to by her parents ; adopt- 
ing in that case the prudent advice of her parents, who 
were fearful of what might be the consequences of a 
personal prosecution of his suit. 

" Get her first," her mother had sagely observed to 
the baron, " and love will soon follow." 

The baron, who had immense faith in his own 
powers, was loath to accept this advice at first ; but 


ultimately assented, and their first meeting as affianced 
lovers was to be before the altar upon the morning of 
their wedding. 

Marian's services were found very acceptable by 
Ellen's parents as the time drew near, and it was de- 
termined that Marian should act as bridesmaid. 

The baron, whose locomotive powers were but in- 
different, arising from the fact that the gout had not 
entirely left him, had to be carried to church by some 
of his retainers ; the bishop riding on the baron's best 
horse by his side. They were the first to arrive at the 
church, where they found Abbot Scaregrace pacing 
in front of the principal entrance, with the keys in his 
hand. He met the baron with a request that he would 
at once pay him his fees, otherwise he would not open 
the door. The baron called his steward, who had with 
him, in two bags, both the fees and the dower, and 
bade him pay the abbot the bare fees, but add no 
present for his insolence. This the steward did, 
and the abbot handed over the keys of the church to 
a decrepit monk, whose form and visage bore the 
signs of unmistakable old age. 

On receiving the keys, the old man toddled with 
comical alacrity to the door, and after rattling the key 
in the lock a good deal, succeeded in forcing back the 
bolt. The outer and inner doors were soon pushed 
open, and the baron and the bishop, with the steward 
and his bags, entered the church. 

They had to wait an unusual length of time before 
the bride arrived. Meanwhile, there slowly sauntered 
into the sacred edifice a young man with a harp in his 


hand. He advanced to where the bishop stood, and 
made a low bow. 

" Thou art thrice welcome," said the bishop ; " and 
if thou canst discourse skilful music, thou shalt have 
good pay ere the day is done." 

" Ay, ay," the baron ejaculated, " that he shall, if 
he can put a fair maid into good humour on her wed- 

u If she be young, she can love," the harper replied, 
" I have the gift to foretell ; and my harp shall wake 
within her such love for her husband as shall never 

" Nay, then, thou shalt have an earnest now," the 
baron said ; " but, prithee, young man, give us a speci- 
men of thy powers." 

The harper, nothing loath, seated himself on a 
cushion, and ran his fingers carelessly over the strings, 
but with evident skill. Then he played some won- 
drously sweet airs, that mightily pleased the baron 
and the bishop ; and the former bade his steward 
give the harper a largess, double the amount of the 
abbot's fees. 

Ellen, accompanied by her father and Marian, en- 
tered the church. The bride's face was crimson with 
blushes, as, with downcast eyes, she walked up the 
aisle to the altar. But when the old baron hobbled 
up to salute her, she drew back in disdain, to the 
astonishment of the old man. Hardfist motioned the 
steward aside, and while the question of the dower, 
in fulfilment of the contract, was being discussed, 
there entered the church, in the most unconcerned 


manner possible, first one, and then several, appar- 
ently prompted by curiosity to see the ceremony. 

Ellen's blushes had been caused by the sight of the 
harper, who was then standing at the door of the 
church, and who followed her in and took his position 
beside a stout man in a long robe, who looked the 
most unconcerned of all in the church. 

The whisperings between Hardfist and the steward 
were of longer duration than was seemly, and appeared 
to be of a difficult nature, for the baron was called to 
take part in them. At length the bags which the 
steward carried were handed over to the bishop, who 
now stood at the altar, and were deposited by him in 
a recess of the wall, pending the ceremony, after which 
they were to be delivered to Hardfist 

The scruples of the latter being thus satisfied, the 
bishop commenced the service by asking, " Who giv- 
eth this maid?" when, to the astonishment of the 
bishop, and of the baron and his party, Robin Hood 
started forward from a pillar against which he had 
been leaning carelessly, and throwing off his disguise, 
said there was one little change to make before the 
ceremony could proceed. At the same time Alan, 
harp in hand, stepped forward and placed himself by 
Ellen's side, to the intense surprise of the baron. 

The steward, thinking to do a good turn for his 
master, laid hold of Alan to thrust him out of the way; 
but Alan quickly seized the man by the nape of his 
neck, and sending him head first at the stomach of 
the baron, knocked both worthies down at the same 


The bishop dropped his book, and stepped back to 
reach the bags that had been handed to him, fearful 
of losing his fee ; but ere he could lay hold of them, 
one of Robin's followers leaped over the altar rails, 
and took the bags in charge. The church door was 
closed by two of Robin's men, disguised as monks, 
just as Hardfist was about to pass out to summon 
assistance. Disappointed in this, he returned to where 
the bishop still stood very much perplexed at these 
extraordinary proceedings, and in a loud voice forbade 
the altered ceremony; and ordered his daughter, as 
she loved him, to leave her hold of Alan, whom he 
characterised in terms more energetic than polite. 

But Ellen clung all the harder to her lover, whose 
arm now encircled her waist. 

Robin asked the bishop to go on with the service, 
and he would pay him double fees ; but the bishop, in 
a resolute voice, refused, and placing his book upon 
a seat, sat upon it with grim humour. 

Robin told him he must, then, give up his gown to 
a better man, at which the bishop laughed ; but when 
Robin laid hold of him, and began to take his gown 
from him by force, he frowned and attempted resist- 
ance. Whereupon Robin called his stout friend, who 
proved to be none other than Friar Goodly ; and, not- 
withstanding the threats of excommunication to which 
the bishop gave utterance, his gown was plucked from 
him and assumed by the friar. 

The bishop cut such a droll figure without his 
gown, which had covered all defects in his under- 
apparel, that even the steward could not refrain from 


laughing. Patched in divers places with different 
coloured cloth, every garment he wore presented the 
appearance of a patchwork quilt 

The bishop attempted no further opposition after 
the loss of his gown ; but contented himself with 
sitting still and grumbling out objections at every 
stage of the ceremony. 

The first he raised was, that the marriage would not 
be binding, because they had not been asked in church, 
as the baron had. But this Robin overruled by send- 
ing Friar Goodly up into the singing-loft, from whence 
he told him to put up the banns six times instead of 
three, and once again for luck. 

This the friar did, amid forbiddings and protestations 
shouted out by the baron and Hardfist, to which no 
heed was paid. 

Robin and Marian were observed in close conversa- 
tion while the banns were being announced ; and when 
the friar had finished his seventh asking, Robin called 
out to him to go on with the others ; and, to the 
astonishment of all in the place, the banns between 
Robin Hood and Marian Harper were published in 
like manner. 

At the first proclamation of Robin's name, a sudden 
silence fell upon the assembly, which was only broken 
by the voice of the friar from above. The well-known 
name, while it startled some, had silenced all. 

After this part of the ceremony was over, the friar 
descended, and in a few moments he declared, amidst 
the cheers of all Robin's men, that both couples were 
duly united in the holy bonds of wedlock. 


The bags of money were forthwith handed to Robin, 
who bestowed them upon Alan as the dower of his 

The friar then doffed his robe, and would have 
assisted to array the bishop, when Robin interposed ; 
the bishop had refused to do the holy work which the 
Church empowered him to perform, and so, Robin 
said, before they parted, he should dance with the 
baron, while Alan played a lively tune on his harp. 

The bishop declared they might take all his gar- 
ments from him before he would condescend to take 
one step in an unholy dance. 

Robin replied that, if he refused, they would drive 
him up the Dale without his gown, so that the people 
might see his patchwork suit. 

The baron, who had not walked the length of the 
church for two months, vowed that they might kill 
him, but they could not make him dance. 

These objections only served to increase the deter- 
mination of Robin and his friends to have the dance. 

Several of the men commenced stripping the baron 
of some superfluous over-clothing which he wore; and 
as each succeeding article was withdrawn, there were 
indications of the ultimate arrival at one affording a 
more comical appearance than that presented by the 
bishop. The very drollery of the scene caused peals 
of laughter to resound throughout the church, in 
which the steward joined at the expense of his 
master. Nor was the bishop proof against the queer 
figure of his proposed partner ; as the men suddenly 
stopped in their work at the entreaty of the baron, 


who promised that he would take a turn or two with 
the bishop. 

The old lover stood upon his legs, and shook him- 
self once or twice, preparatory to taking up his posi- 

Alan, seeing that the baron was ready, commenced 
a lively measure on his harp. 

Two men advanced, with mock politeness, to the 
bishop, who, seeing that further resistance was use- 
less, got up and placed himself by the side of the 

The sight was strangely ludicrous. The baron and 
the bishop eyed each other with some curiosity, as 
though in doubt of their personal identity ; and it was 
evident to all that they had some difficulty in refrain- 
ing from joining in the merry laughter that rose from 
all around. 

Alan played the tune twice over before the reverend 
dancer and the baron gave symptoms of fulfilling 
their promise. 

Robin, who sat upon the altar rail, was laughing so 
heartily at the appearance of the two gentlemen, as 
to lose all self-control ; but seeing that there was no 
indication of a movement, he called upon them to 
begin forthwith, or, he vowed, he would make them 
dance in the churchyard. 

Alan began to repeat the tune, for the third time, 
somewhat more slowly; and a very quiet shuffle of 
feet on the part of the couple indicated that the 
dance had commenced. 

As they appeared to warm with their work, Robin 


kept urging them to greater speed; while Alan quick- 
ened the time, and, at length, the baron and the 
bishop danced with an energy that surprised all. 

The bishop appeared to take it very easily until 
the baron, warming - at his work, thought it a shame 
not to be able to cut the bishop out, and so he capered 
faster and faster, round and round, now advancing, 
then retreating, in the most accomplished Saxon 
fashion. The bishop, not to be beaten, answered 
every movement of the baron with a corresponding 
action, but, being the stouter of the two, gave signs 
of great distress. 

Robin, seeing the spirit of emulation that had taken 
possession of them, stimulated them to still greater 
exertions, by praising first one and then the other, 
and declaring they were the best dancers in Eng- 

Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle went their feet, their arms 
hanging at their sides, and their heads bobbing up 
and down and sideways, until, from sheer exhaustion, 
the bishop tumbled up against Robin, who, sitting 
poised on the altar rail, failed to catch him in his 
arms, and was tumbled over into the lap of Alan. 

The baron continued dancing after the music 
ceased, as though triumphing over the bishop. 

Robin and Alan floundered about on the floor for 
a minute, and on regaining their feet, gave vent to 
their feelings in hearty shouts of laughter, in which 
all the others joined. 

Hardfist at first looked gloomily on from behind 
one of the pillars, fearful of being called upon to take 


part in the dance ; but after it commenced, appeared 
to have forgotten his fears and disappointment at 
losing his daughter's dower, and laughed until he grew 
purple in the face. 

As to Marian and Ellen, who, with arms entwined 
around each other, stood close up to the altar rails, 
the tears ran down their cheeks from excessive laugh- 

Friar Goodly, with Hardfist, and Soreside, and Hit- 
soft, and other friends of Robin, looked on with 
intense merriment until the dance ended, and then, 
in the excitement of the moment, joined hands, and 
had a rough caper without music, to the increased 
delight of the rest 

This over, Robin and the friar, with a thousand 
apologies, assisted to array the bishop, who, being 
out of breath, accepted all their attentions in silence. 
The baron was also assisted to dress by his steward 
and the old monk, the latter having been a silent spec- 
tator of the whole scene, scarcely comprehending it. 

When the dance began, the poor old monk's head 
commenced nodding, as if in time to the music ; but 
it was not so really. It was owing partly to his 
extreme age, and partly to his horror at seeing so 
reverend a man as the bishop indulging in such an 
unholy pastime. 

Before the party broke up, Robin told the baron 
that when next he sought a wife he should first of all 
gain the lady's approbation, and not attempt to buy 
her like an ox or an ass. The baron affirmed that he 
would gladly have given double the dower to be free 


from such a union, as he had already begun to doubt 
its prudence; he blessed Heaven and the Church 
that while he had lost a wife he had gained his 
health, and that his dance had made him feel ten 
years younger than he was. Whereupon he chal- 
lenged the bishop to another dance for 100 marks, 
which that sober prelate positively declined. 

Robin also made the bishop and the baron swear 
before the altar, that they would neither of them 
seek to do any injury to himself, Alan, the friar, or 
any of Robin Hood's men, for what had transpired 
that day. This both of them swore to observe. 

Forbidding any of the party to stir from the 
church for the next hour, Robin took the keys from 
the old monk, and having double locked the church 
door, took up the flags of the porch and piled them 
against it. They also locked the outer door, and 
inserted pebbles in the lock. 

There were left in the church the Bishop of Here- 
ford, Baron de Younglove, Eli Hardfist, the steward, 
and the monk. 

It will, perhaps, be remembered that Hardfist had 
once attempted to leave the church for assistance, 
but that the door had been shut in his face by two of 
Robin's men in the disguise of monks. These men 
had been stationed at the door to prevent any of the 
villagers from entering during the wedding. For- 
tunately for those in the church, very few presented 
themselves for admission ; and they, on being refused 
admittance, betook themselves to the village, 
where the baron's servants and the villagers busied 


themselves about roasting an ox and some venison, 
and troubled themselves not a bit about the baron 
and his intended bride. There were, therefore, none 
about to see the barricading and the locking of the 
church doors. 

Robin pitched the keys over the wall of the abbey 
as they passed, and then they made the best of their 
way, by a circuitous route, to the forest. 

The keys were picked up by a monk who hap- 
pened to have some duties to perform at midnight in 
the church, and so without a word he carried them to 
his cell. 

After the lapse of an hour, the baron thought it 
was high time to be going. 

They tried the door, but could not open it. Then 
the combined power of the party was applied to force 
the lock, without any effect. They shook the door 
and kicked it; the baron conjured it with some strong 
words, and the bishop besought it with mildness, to 
open for them, but still the door stood fast. 

They shouted aloud, they screamed, they entreated, 
they made all sorts of hideous noises, but there was 
no response. 

After many hours had been spent in this way, the 
bishop discovered a secret store of wine, which was 
hailed by them as a gift of Providence. The corks 
were speedily drawn, and the contents appropriated 
to other than sacred uses. Drinking this wine upon 
empty stomachs, after the excitement and fatigues of 
the day, made all feel drowsy. 

It was late in the afternoon when this happened, 


and the whole party, with mutual concurrence, col- 
lected together the cushions, cloths, and vestments 
the church contained, and disposed themselves for a 
short sleep. 

They were, however, more drowsy than they were 
conscious of, for they slept soundly for several hours, 
until the solemn hour of midnight came; and even 
then were not roused by the knocking of the monk 
at the door. 

The brother who had late duty to perform had 
betaken himself to the church that night as usual. 
He lost much time in opening the outer door, by 
reason of the pebbles, which however, after consider* 
able trouble, he managed to extract. 

The sight of the gravestones piled up against the 
inner door, convinced him that some evil spirits had 
been at work ; and so he hastened back to the abbey, 
and roused the abbot and all the order. 

Dressed in full canonicals, the abbot duly sprinkled 
the gravestones and the church door with holy water, 
using the service for the laying of evil spirits. Then 
the stones, were removed one by one, and the door 
was unlocked. 

The abbot ordered it to be opened, and the torch- 
bearers to advance. They were very reluctant to do 
so, and some time elapsed before a movement was 

The moment this was done, a voice was heard 
from out the darkness. It was that of the Bishop of 
Hereford, who, partially roused by the noise outside, 
shouted out, "No, I'll not dance, I'll not dance!" 


and immediately another voice, that of the baron, 
exclaimed, " Take her away, she's yours now !" 

The abbot motioned the torch-bearers to proceed 
up the aisle, but they resolutely refused. 

Half the monks had slipped off, believing that evil 
spirits had taken possession of the church. The 
remainder stood together in a frightened group close 
to the door. 

The abbot mumbled a few prayers, and then with 
one united voice they summoned the spirits to de- 

The noise they made roused the rest of the 
sleepers, and the old monk, being the first to recover 
full possession of his faculties, and seeing the light, 
made towards it as fast as his old limbs would allow. 
The peculiar patter he made was, however, too much 
for the nerves of the abbot and his friends, and as 
the noise neared them the torch-bearers flung down 
their torches, and with the' abbot, who certainly was 
not the last, they bolted as fast as their legs could 
carry them. 

The noise roused Hardfist, who picked up the 
torches, and was speedily joined by his friends. They 
were astonished to find the doors of the church open, 
and were passing through the churchyard when the 
abbey bells broke out into a dismal peal, as though 
they shared the terror of the ringers. 

The bishop and his friends made the best of their 
way to the abbey, where, after some little time, they 
were admitted. 

The abbot, surrounded by a number of the monks, 


all arrayed in their vestments, received the bishop 
very curtly, and demanded his business. 

To which the bishop replied that he wanted enter- 
tainment for the rest of the night, as it was too far to 
walk to the castle. 

Whereupon the abbot, across whose mind a ray of 
light flashed, inquired, with a frown, where the ladies 

The bishop replied that they had been gone many 

But the abbot further inquired what had become 
of the lady he spoke to when they opened the church 

The baron looked at the bishop, and the abbot 
frowned on both ; the steward, as much puzzled, re- 
peated the question in a whisper to Hardfist, who, 
unable to comprehend what was meant, thought that 
entanglements would never cease, and shook his head 

The bishop asked the abbot what he meant. The 
monks, in chorus, chimed in with their leader, and 
matters appeared to be assuming serious proportions. 

The steward suggested that perhaps the old monk 
could explain what was meant, but he was nowhere 
to be found. 

The poor old man, thinking he had had enough of 
the marriage ceremony, at any rate for one day, had 
betaken himself to his couch, having followed at the 
heels of the abbot and the monks on their flight from 
the church, and passed unquestioned to his cell. 

After some time he was found, and brought in to 


tell his story of the day's proceedings, which he did 
in such a way as to lead the abbot to the conviction 
that his reverend brother had been guilty of the most 
grave improprieties. 

The old man alleged that the bishop brought a 
harper into the church, and some strange men ; that 
he closed the church door, then stripped off his robe, 
and danced with the baron ; and that he afterwards 
locked the whole of them up in the church, and 
drank the wine. 

The bishop protested, and the baron explained, but 
all was of no avail ; and the abbot declared that he 
should bring the conduct of the bishop before a full 
conclave of abbots, and, by the punishment of one, 
deter all bishops in the future from desecrating 
abbeys with unholy games. 

Long ere this the newly-married parties with their 
friends reached their home in Sherwood without 
molestation. That evening the ceremony of the day 
was celebrated by a feast in the most primitive 
fashion, enlivened by songs, accompanied by harps, 
and varied by the telling of some love-story or 
romantic adventure. 


Two Kings visit Nottingham Robin and John Little have a Fight 
upon a Bridge Baptism of Friar Goodly, John Little, Hardlock, 
and the Miller's Son Baron de Younglove prepares an Expe- 
dition to capture Robin Hood. 

JFTER the defeat of the sheriff and his party, 
there followed a cessation of hostilities for 
nearly a year. One reason of this was, the. 
intelligence formally conveyed to the sheriff 
of the intention of King Henry II. to spend the Christ- 
mas of that year, 1179, in Nottingham, where he was 
going to have as a guest William, king of Scotland. 
The governor of the castle called upon the sheriff to 
furnish him with skilful artisans to prepare suitable 
rooms for the entertainment of the monarchs. This 
was the first time that the king had visited the. town 
in the shrievalty of Gammer, and it was only natural 
he should feel extremely anxious to give them a suit- 
able reception. Clever workmen were accordingly 
selected from amongst both the Normans and the 
Saxons, and sent to the castle ; and the sheriff after- 


wards made preparations for a series of grand enter- 
tainments in the town. 

These consisted of pageants to parade the streets 
of shows, in which the various trades of the town were 
to take part. There were to be bulls baited at the 
various crosses; and animals to be roasted for the 
general refreshment of the people. 

A great fair was also to be held, during which time 
all the shops were to be closed. The chief reason for 
holding it was, to provide food for the king's table, 
and such other necessaries that the king's purveyors 
might think fit to seize for the use of the court. 

This fair opened two days before the arrival of the 
king; but he had sent his purveyors on before him ; 
and they were the first customers that the poor stall- 
keepers had. The object of the fair was so well known 
to the shopkeepers, that the display of goods made 
did not satisfy the royal purveyors, who seized three- 
fourths of the things exhibited, and had them imme- 
diately carried off to the castle, to be stored for the 
king's service. Upon these articles they put a value, 
which was not equal to their cost price ; and gave 
orders on the king's exchequer, payable at some dis- 
tant date. 

A levy was then made upon the town to supply 
the deficiency, and a certain number of animals and 
requisites of every description ordered to be delivered 
at the side gate of the castle every morning, on pain 
of a severe penalty. 

In order to meet this demand, the sheriff made an 
aUQtment of the several quotas that each division of 


the town was expected to contribute ; and the heaviest 
levy was made upon the Saxons. 

The king came, and was welcomed with the applause 
of the people, as a matter of course. The keys of the 
town were presented to him by the sheriff, who after- 
wards escorted him to the castle, where he was duti- 
fully met by the governor, who tendered him the keys 
of the fortress, and then conducted him to the quarters 
prepared for him. 

Afterwards, William of Scotland arrived with his 
retinue, and was received with due ceremony, and led 
to the castle, where he was met by Henry. The fes- 
tivities continued for a whole week, during which the 
kings laid aside all ceremony, and entered like other 
men into the sports and pastimes provided for the 
popular amusement. 

All the time the people had to provide in most 
unequal measure for the king's table ; and crowds of 
followers who came in the retinue of the king levied 
mail of every description on the poor tradesmen. 

When Henry left, he gave Sheriff Gammer a very 
substantial token of his good-will in the shape of a 
present of plate. 

In the forest at Greenwood Glade, the winter was 
spent more sensibly than by the court at Nottingham. 
The band completed the construction of the moat 
around their house ; and further enclosed the whole 
ground on which the house stood with a close wall of 
stout palings. 

Ellen and Marian employed their time in spinning, 
and the evenings were invariably enlivened by the 


music of Alan's harp, and songs from all the com- 

With the return of spring-time the full joys of forest- 
life returned, and excursions were made to all the 
villages round about the forest by Robin, Will, or 
Alan, disguised as beggarmen, for the purpose of 
visiting their friends. In every place they heard the 
same complaints from the unfortunate Saxons of 
harsh treatment, the Normans following in this respect 
the example set them by the sheriff of Nottingham. 

Returning one day from a visit to Mansfield, Robin 
was in the forest when, as he was descending the slope 
of a hill to cross a stream in the valley by a rough 
bridge composed of a single tree which was laid across 
it, he encountered one who was in after years to be 
associated with him in many a rough encounter. 

He was a man of most unusual size, who, as he 
caught sight of Robin coming from an opposite direc- 
tion, quickened his pace, in order to be the first to 
cross the bridge. The man had no other weapon with 
him than a huge stick, which he used to walk with, 
but which was fully seven feet long. He strode along 
like a giant, but with a lounging gait. Robin quick- 
ened his pace too, and both reached the stream at the 
same moment. 

The bridge, however, was so narrow that two could 
not pass each other on it. Both men were now on it, 
and they both seemed determined to advance. Robin 
still wore his disguise, underneath which he carried 
his bow and arrows, while his horn hung at his side. 

The giant, seeing Robin still advancing, shouted out, 


" Get thee back, varlet, or I '11 pitch thee into the 
stream !" 

Robin stood still, and, drawing an arrow from his 
quiver, was preparing to string his bow, when his 
opponent again called out, 

" I'll baste thy hide with my staff, if thou dost offer 
to touch the string with that arrow." 

Quoth Robin, "Thoupratest like an ass, for I could 
send this arrow through thy hide before thou couldst 
raise thy staff in the air." 

" Thou art a coward to say so !" replied the stranger; 
" but had I a bow, I would put thy skill to the test. 
Thou dost want to take advantage of me, because I 
have naught but my staff in my hand." 

" Nay," said Robin, " thou dost lie to call me a 
coward ; and let me but cut a staff, and I'll fight thee 
right willingly." 

" Agreed," quoth the stranger ; " cut thyself a staff 
on that side, and I'll remain on this while thou art 
about it." 

Robin retreated to the bank, and, making choice of 
a young oak-tree, soon provided himself with a staff 
He returned to the bridge, waving his staff over his 
head as he went. 

Quoth Robin, " Let us fight on the bridge, and 
whoever succeeds in tumbling the other into the 
water shall be the victor." 

"Agreed, agreed/' said the stranger, at the same 
time advancing to meet Robin. 

The bridge spanned a narrow, but deep and rapid 
stream ; and the bridge, which consisted of a roughly 


hewn tree, did not give a very steady footing to the 
ordinary passenger. 

The combatants advanced to meet each other on 
the bridge ; and, after a few preliminary flourishes, fell 
to in right good earnest. At first both succeeded in 
escaping a blow by skilful parryings ; then, as though 
he had found out his opponent's weakest point, Robin 
dealt a blow on the stranger's side, which evoked a 
significant grunt. 

" One," Robin said, as he sprang back after the 

" Granted," the stranger replied ; " but I scorn to 
die in thy debt." 

So to it they went again right hard and fast ; and 
then the stranger gave Robin such a thwack upon his 
head, as made the blood trickle down his face. This 
seemed to rouse Robin, and he twisted his oak staff 
about with such skill as to. deal a blow with every 
motion of his hand, until the stranger's sides must 
have smarted severely from their effect. The increas- 
ing storm of blows wrought the giant to a fury, and 
at length, with one fierce blow, he toppled Robin into 
the water. There was a sudden splash, as Robin dis- 
appeared from sight ; but in a moment he rose to the 
surface, and, shaking his head, struck out for the 

" Hallo !" shouted the stranger, as Robin swam 
along, " where art thou now, my fine friend ?" 

" Swimming with the tide," Robin responded, as he 
turned on his back in the stream, and kicked up his 
heels. Then striking out to the side, he drew himself 


out of the water with the aid of an overhanging 

When he got out, he saw the stranger was still 
seated on the narrow bridge, laughing at the figure 
he presented with his dripping garments. 

After shaking himself once or twice, Robin drew 
his horn from beneath his cloak, and putting it to his 
lips, blew a loud blast. Then going up to the stranger, 
he laughingly complimented him on being the victor ; 
and while they were still discoursing somewhat sharply 
about the battle, there suddenly appeared on the 
scene Will Stoutly, Alan, Scathelock, old widow 
Headlock's son, and several others. 

Running up to Robin, they gravely saluted him. 
Will, seeing him still dripping with water, asked him 
what had happened ; whereupon Robin told him that 
'he stranger, in fighting, had tumbled him into the 
water. . 

" Nay, then," quoth Will, casting aside his bow, 
" he shall have a taste of the water likewise." 

Before Robin had time to interfere, they laid hold 
of the stranger to duck him. But he was not so 
easily managed as they had anticipated ; and, in the 
scuffle, both Will and Alan fell with him into the 
water. Robin watched the fray, laughing ; but when 
he saw them all in the stream together, ran on to the 
bridge, and, as the stranger's head rose above the 
surface, saluted him with the inquiry, 

" I prithee, my fine friend, where art thou now ?" 

They all swam to the bank, and the stranger, in ill 
humour, said he would fight the whole of them, 


cowards as they were, if they would only allow him 
to plant his back against a tree. 

But Robin interposed, and declared that he was the 
bravest man he had ever met with, and that there 
should be no more fighting. So they shook hands 
all round. 

Robin, seeing that the stranger was restored to 
good humour, invited him to remain with them in the 
forest and become a rover, promising that he should 
have good cheer all the year round. This was gladly 
accepted by the stranger, who declared that he was 
flying from Mansfield to save his ears, the foresters 
having threatened that they would cut them off for 
slaying the king's deer. Robin, on hearing, this, was 
the first to grasp his hand and bid him welcome to 
their band ; and every man, in turn, gave him a 
hearty slap on the back in token of their approval of 
his decision. 

It was proposed that they should have a grand feast 
that night to celebrate the accession of so brave a man 
to their ranks, and on their way towards the Glade, 
Robin shot a fine fat doe. This they carried between 
them to Robin's house, and then all hands were 
summoned to prepare the feast. 

Friar Goodly looked with astonishment on the 
height of the stranger ; and merry peals of laughter 
arose as Robin placed the friar and the stranger back 
to back, and marked the friar's height on the other's 

Marian suggested that if they had a feast, they 
should have a christening at the same time ; and as the 


friar and the stranger were the latest accessions to 
their family, they might very appropriately be bap- 
tized. This proposition was warmly supported by 

The stranger protested that he had had enough of 
water for that day. 

The friar urged that, as the spiritual adviser of the 
whole house, it did not comport with his dignity to 
suffer baptism at the hands of any layman. 

When, however, Will s'uggested that wine should 
be used instead of water, and that the baptizing 
should consist, not of an external, but an internal 
application, the friar withdrew all objections. 

Fires were lighted, the venison roasted, and strong 
liquor brought out. After full justice had been 
done to the spread, preparations were made for the 
christening. First of all, names had to be chosen. 

The stranger told them that he had hitherto rejoiced 
in the name of John Little, whereupon the friar sug- 
gested that it should be changed to Little John, which 
gave general satisfaction. 

Next came the question as to a name for the friar ; 
and, after many had been mentioned and rejected, 
Marian archly proposed that he should be called 
Friar Tuck. The gentle imputation conveyed in his 
new name tickled the friar's fancy, and he vowed 
that henceforth he would be known by no other 

At the same time, Robin proposed that Hardlock 
should be confirmed in the nickname he had borne 
for several years of Scathelock. 


This was also agreed to ; and, finally, a diminutive 
fellow, who had been brought to the Glade by Scathe- 
lock, was sworn in as a forest rover, and received, amidst 
uproarious laughter, the name of Much. He was a 
miller's son, and had run away from home to avoid the 
wrath of Gruff, from whom his ears were in danger. 

A half circle was then made in front of the Green- 
wood-tree. Robin assumed the office of baptizer, and, 
arrayed in the friar's vestment, called in a solemn 
voice for the infants that were to be baptized. Here- 
upon Marian advanced, leading Friar Goodly by the 
hand ; and Ellen followed, holding the hand of John 
Little. They advanced to Robin, who rose to re- 
ceive them. 

"Who giveth this babe a name?" asked Robin, 
pointing to the friar. 

" I," Marian replied ; " Tuck is to be his name, if it 
please thee." 

Robin held a horn in his hand, which Will had 
filled to the brim with wine. Turning to the friar 
and those about, he asked, " Doth it content thee all, 
my good friends, that this pretty babe be called 

Roars of laughter succeeded the question, which 
Robin took as the assent of the company. 

" Then," said Robin, " henceforth, and for ever, be 
it known to all present, or that may come after us, 
and to all the world, that this babe is to be called by 
no other name than Tuck." Then handing the horn 
to the friar, he added, " Drink, my pretty one, to the 
general good-will of the whole assembly." 


The friar raised the horn to his lips, gradually 
elevating his arm and throwing his head back, nor 
stopped to breathe until he had swallowed the whole 
of the contents. 

This feat excited the emulation and drew forth the 
applause of all present. 

The same ceremony was repeated over Little John ; 
who failed, however, to empty his horn, the good 
example that had been set him notwithstanding. 

Finally, Scathelock and Much were christened as 
the others had been. The ceremony over, the whole 
band spent the rest of the evening in drinking, music, 
and singing. 

The next day, all were up at sunrise to see an 
exhibition of the boasted strength of Little John. He 
was a full head and shoulders taller than the rest of the 
company ; and at wrestling or pitching, beat them all, 
but when they came to try their skill at the butts, he 
was found to be the worst shot in the company. 
This was not owing, however, to want of skill, as he 
made vast improvement after shooting with the rest 
for an hour or two ; but he had neglected to use his 
bow for some time before the unexpected encounter 
with Robin in the forest. He soon made such pro- 
gress by diligent practice as rendered him a good shot. 

The unexpected conclusion to Baron dc Young- 
love's proposed marriage, was not long kept a secret 
in the Dale. The Abbot Scaregrace made diligent 
use of the scandal that the wedding had given rise 
to ; and circulated, far and wide amongst the abbeys, 
his version of the Bishop of Hereford's conduct. 


As this was based entirely on the evidence of the 
old monk, it may be inferred that the bishop's share 
in the ceremony of the day was understood to be of 
the most eccentric character. 

The old baron, who was not at all liked in the Dale, 
notwithstanding his show of hospitality on the inaus- 
picious day, after reaching his castle in safety, racked 
his brains to find out some method of punishing 
Robin Hood. The oath that he had taken had no 
weight with him, for the Bishop of Hereford, before 
he parted from him, solemnly released himself and the 
baron, at the same time, from all observance of the 
oath, as it had been forced upon them, not taken of 
their own freewill. 

The loss of his money ultimately became a source 
of considerable irritation to the baron. During the 
winter months, he fell into a state of much inactivity, 
and gradually became fat ;,then the gout seized him 
once more. 

He was some time in determining which of his 
grievances he should make an excuse for summoning 
the sheriff of Nottingham to his assistance. He finally 
decided on the loss of his money-bags in the church 
of Dale Abbey. It also became a part of his re- 
venge to have the marriage with Alan annulled, and 
then, with the concurrence of her parents, to force 
Ellen to a marriage with himself. 

The steward was despatched on sundry occasions 
to consult with Eli and Dame Hardfist, as to their 
feelings upon the matter ; and they were always found 
in the same mood with regard to their daughter's 


marriage. The sorest point to them was the loss of 
the marks and land which the baron had promised 
them. They cared little about their daughter, but only 
about her marketable value, and brooded over their 
disappointment as a grievous wrong that had been 
inflicted upon them. They listened with evident 
satisfaction to the baron's proposals, which embraced 
a new offer of the payment of a similar sum to that 
agreed upon in the first instance, provided they con- 
sented to the baron's present arrangements. 

To carry these out, the baron first despatched a 
monk to the Bishop of Hereford, who forwarded 
him a document absolving Ellen from her marriage 
with Alan, and licensing the baron to contract mar- 
riage with her instead. 

Having provided himself with this, he further under- 
took to capture Ellen and her abettors; and for the 
purpose of obtaining the necessary legal powers, he 
persuaded Eli Hardfist to accompany his steward 
and a monk to Nottingham, to have an interview 
with the sheriff. 

It was in the summer of 1180 that the trio set 
forth on their errand. They found the sheriff a most 
willing auditor, ready enough to supply the baron 
with the necessary legal authority to apprehend 
Robin Hood and all the forest rovers, and confine 
them in the dungeon of the nearest prison or castle^ 
until such a time as the sheriff might find it con- 
venient to convey them to Nottingham for trial. 

The steward drew an exaggerated account of the 
number of stoat men the baron had in service, all of 


whom were to be engaged in the contemplated cap- 
ture of Robin Hood. 

The sheriff was much pressed to accompany the 
party, so as to lend the weight of his presence to the 
expedition ; but he gravely excused himself, by stat- 
ing that the town could not dispense with his ser- 
vices. His real excuse, however, was a well-grounded 
fear of again meeting with one who had already, on 
two different occasions, treated him rather uncere- 
moniously. He protested that the capture was a 
thing of the simplest possible character, and that he 
was unwihing to take part in a project where the 
honour was of such a nature as could only redound 
to the credit of one man. 

The steward was mightily flattered by the sheriff's 
arguments, and, after spending a few days in Nott- 
ingham, returned to Dale Abbey. 

On their way through the villages that lay on their 
journey, they boasted loudly of the intended capture 
of the notable Robin Hood, and exhibited, to gaping 
crowds of Normans and Saxons, the authoritative 
seals appended to the warrants which they carried. 
They little thought how their boasts were laughed at 
by some amongst the Saxons, and that their prema- 
ture vaunts would lead to their ultimate confusion. 

Through the forest they rode with their precious 
documents, until at last they came to Dale Castle. 

The baron received them with mighty good plea- 
sure. The gout had made the thought of revenge 
very sweet to him. Not that he cared much about 
Ellen after his treatment in the church, but there was 


a lurking feeling of dignity lost amongst the people 
which he was anxious to retrieve. 

Reckoning with grave certainty on effecting the 
capture of Robin and his band, he caused the dun- 
geons of the castle to be repaired for their reception. 
The old doors of these dungeons had not been 
opened for many years, and grated ominously on the 
ear as they were pushed open. There was no sign of 
decay about the walls or floors, and very slight re- 
pair seemed to be necessary to render them per- 
fectly secure. They were four in all, and sufficiently 
large to imprison upwards of a hundred people. As 
these preparations were being completed, the baron's 
belief seemed to slide into an absolute certainty, that 
Robin would be caught ; and in his conversations 
with some of the leaders amongst his dependents, he 
even spoke of him as already a prisoner in the 

The baron sent round amongst his tenants, de- 
manding their attendance at the castle, with a cer- 
tain number of retainers, on an appointed day, to 
accompany him on the expedition into the forest. 

The store of arms in the castle was examined, and 
a number of spears, cross-bows, and slings brought 
out, wherewith to arm the force, in case any of them 
came unprovided. Thongs of hide were also pre- 
pared, wherewith to bind the prisoners together. 

When the day came, there were assembled at the 
castle a few over one hundred men. 

The baron determined to lead them himself; and 
as he calculated upon the instant submission of 


Robin at the sight of such a force, he gave no other 
directions than that the enemy were lo be surrounded 
as soon as they came in sight, and not one of them 
suffered to escape. The prisoners were then to be 
bound, and held, while the monk, whose name was 
Fittight, married the baron to Ellen. 

This the baron regarded as a master stroke of pun- 
ishment, and fondly pictured the confusion of Ellen, 
and the rage of Alan at his loss. 

At length the expedition was reduced to some- 
thing like order, and started for the forest At the 
head the baron was carried in his litter by six stout 
men ; on his right walked Fittight, and on his left 
Hardfist. In his hand the baron carried the warrant 
for the apprehension of the rovers, with the great seal 
dangling from it 

Immediately behind came the steward, carrying 
two money-bags, slung one over each shoulder ; these 
contained the money to be paid over to Hardfist 

It had been agreed between them that the bags 
were to be in the custody of Fittight until the cere- 
mony was concluded, when they were to be handed 
over to Hardfist But, by a secret arrangement that 
the baron had made, he provided for the safe return 
of the money to his own coffers ; several of his men 
having been commissioned to rob Hardfist of the 
money as soon as the ceremony was over. 

After the steward came the fighting men, four 
abreast, armed with slings/ cross-bows, and spears. 
They looked uncommonly fierce at the people assem- 
bled to see them march from the village. 


At the end of the column were sundry horses, 
laden with provisions for the refreshment of the 
party before and after the attack. 

The baron believed that the force produced im- 
mense effect upon the people, as it slowly wound its 
way through the village towards the forest. 

As they passed the dwelling of Hardfist, the baron 
saw Dame Hardfist, in her best bib and tucker, 
waving her hand in token of her goo4 wishes to the 
expedition. This the baron acknowledged with a 
stiff bow, chuckling in his sleeve at the pleasant little 
stratagem he had concocted for saving the dower he 
had promised in exchange for his spouse. 

As soon as they entered the forest, the baron gave 
orders for a general halt. It was an uncommonly 
hot day, in the month of July. The object of the 
halt was a twofold one ; the first being considered by 
the men the most important. This was to drink to 
their success. The baron thought by this to make 
them enter on their expedition with more readiness, 
and to induce them to act with increased vigour. 
One of the horses carried two casks of strong liquor, 
which the steward was ordered to tap. He unslung 
his money-bags, and deposited them in the care of 
Friar Fittight, who sat upon them, to the evident 
satisfaction of Hardfist, whose eyes sparkled as he<s 
thought of the little plans he and his worthy dame 
had discussed for laying out the money. 

The main body of the force evidently considered 
that they were only expected to make a show in the 
operations of the day, and the proposition of the 


baron was hailed with a shout of satisfaction, which 
he regarded as the presage of the day's victory. 
They did not require a second hint in reference to 
the contents of the barrel ; but, casting their weapons 
on the grass, crowded round the steward in all eager- 
ness to taste the baron's ale. Drinking-horns were 
produced ; and as both barrels were tapped at the 
same time, to equalise the balance, the whole force 
was speedily supplied. The ale \vas of the strongest 
possible brew known to the steward, and its effect 
was speedily seen in the liveliness of the men. 

When all had drunk, the baron called the men 
around him, for the purpose of deciding on the best 
mode of proceeding. That Robin was in the forest, 
the baron knew ; but where, was the question on 
which he desired counsel. Some proposed that they 
should remain in the forest until they found him ; 
others, that they should divide their numbers, and 
search for him in several difections. After consider- 
able discussion, it was finally resolved not to divide 
their force, but to press forward into the heart of 
the forest, relying upon Providence to bring them 
face to face with the rovers of Sherwood. 


The Baron releases a poor Prisoner Unexpected Appearance of Robin's 
Band Robin throws off his Disguise and captures the Baron 
Trial and Punishment of the Offenders The Story told by the Run- 
aways in the Valley. 

JFTER a short rest, the order was given to 
march forward, and the whole force pre- 
pared to advance. They did not, how- 
ever, preserve the same order, but straggled 
about, dragging their weapons behind them. They 
had marched in this way about three hours, when the 
sound of a human voice was heard at some distance. 
The whole band paused and listened. There was no 
doubt about the matter ; the voice was that of a man, 
and he seemed to be in great distress. The baron 
ordered the band to form in companies, and march in 
the direction of the voice, which they did very reluct- 
antly. The sound increased, and they were soon able 
make out a cry for " help." As there appeared to 
3e only one voice, the band gathered courage and 
pressed forward. 


They came, at length, upon the cause of their 
alarm, and found that it proceeded from a man 
bound with supple thongs, hard and fast, to a tree. 
The thongs had been passed round his arms, legs, and 
waist, so that, without assistance, escape seemed im- 
possible. He appeared to be in great distress. He 
wore the garb of a beggar, and his empty wallets lay 
on the ground beside him, together with a staff which 
had been broken in two. His face was covered with 
blood and dirt, as though he had been thrown savagely 
to the ground and severely injured. His hair was all 
matted with blood, and his garments were torn in 
several places. 

On making the discovery, the whole force waited 
until the arrival of the baron; but with an evident 
disrelish of what they saw. 

The baron was carried up to the man, and he im- 
mediately ordered him to be set at liberty. On this 
being done, the man threw himself on one knee be- 
fore the baron, and poured out a torrent of thanks for 
releasing him. 

On being questioned, he stated that, coming through 
the forest that morning, he had met the foresters, that 
they had searched him, and, not finding any money, 
had bound him to the tree. He had resisted ; there- 
fore, they ill-treated him, covering him with blood. 
He gave such a description of the men, as caused the 
baron to declare most emphatically that they were 
not foresters, but none other than Robin Hood's men. 

At the mention of Robin Hood's name, the man 
declared that the baron was right ; that the whole of 


the band was under the leadership of one they called 
by that name. 

The baron nodded sagaciously towards the monk, 
who was busy telling his beads. The steward wore 
a troubled look, remembering his midnight vigil in 
Dale Abbey Church. The knees of Hardfist knocked 
against each other ; and the whole band crowded 
together, and looked as if they wished themselves out 
of the forest. 

On being further interrogated, the man stated that 
Robin's band was divided into three parties, each 
party having a separate leader ; and when they met 
him, they were on their way to Nottingham, to meet 
the sheriff and a number of soldiers who were coming 
into the forest to take Robin. They had said they 
meant to hang the sheriff for breaking an oath he 
had taken not to molest Robin; and the soldiers 
were to be bound to trees in the forest, and left to 

" Heaven deliver us!" exclaimed the monk on hear- 
ing the man's story, a sentiment which seemed to be 
shared in by all present. 

The baron appeared to be specially uneasy at the 
intelligence, and shook his head from side to side, as 
though to assure himself that no rope was yet en- 
circling his neck. 

" It's a mercy," the baron at length said, " that this 
fierce band has taken the road to Nottingham ; but I 
was not aware that any force was coming to assist us. 
Perhaps," he suggested, " we had better make our way 
round" (giving an intimation with his hand, that he 


meant a roundabout way) "to Nottingham, and join 
our force with that of the sheriff." 

Universal assent was accorded to this suggestion of 
the baron's. The men were weary with their long 
march, and the monk suggested that they had better 
have some refreshments before they started on their 
still longer march to Nottingham. The baron ven- 
tured a mild dissent, wishing to start without further 
delay in that neighbourhood ; but seeing that the 
universal feeling was to make a good meal then and 
there, he, with some reluctance, gave his consent. 
Forthwith the horses were unloaded. The roast 
meats, in huge joints, and loaves of bread, were un- 
packed and laid upon the grass. 

The men disposed themselves as they felt inclined; 
and the monk stood up, at a signal from the baron, to 
pronouace the grace. Just as he raised his head and 
stretched forth his hands in compliance, there came 
echoing through the forest the sound of a horn. Friar 
Fittight dropped his arms, and looked round with 
manifest terror. Ere the sound had died away, there 
was a second echo from an opposite direction. The 
men sprang to their feet, and looked as though they 
were preparing for a good run. Again, there came the 
sound of a third horn, from another direction, and, 
almost immediately, there was the noise of many men 
in the forest. 

The poor man who had been tied to the tree, on 
hearing the horns, had started to his feet like the 
others, and, wringing his hands, ran backwards and 
forwards, shouting, " Robin Hood, Robin Hood!" The 


old baron sprang from his litter with more alacrity 
than he had done since the ceremony in Dale Church ; 
and, hobbling about, called loudly for the bearers. 
They were in the crowd, and too intent upon a dis- 
cussion which was going on as to their next move- 
ment, to heed the baron. Again there was a noise of 
men approaching through the trees ; but, before their 
appearance, the majority of the baron's men were on 
their way to the Dale as fast as their legs could carry 

The baron saw Friar Fittight about to participate 
in the general flight ; but, with considerable agility, 
laid hold of him by his robe and sprang upon his 

At the same moment, from three opposite quarters, 
there came bounding in three columns of men, num- 
bering thirty in all, every one dressed in green, and 
carrying a bow and a short sword at his belt. 

The friar had commenced running, as well as he 
was able, with his burden, but was collared by Will. 
Alan, at the same time, laid hold of the steward, 
who was making the best of his way off with the 
money-bags across his shoulders, and Eli Hardfist 
by his side. When the steward was stopped in his 
career, Hardfist stopped too, as though he wished to 
look after the bags more even than his own safety. 
The horses, which had been tethered to some trees, 
remained; and the band, in their great hurry, were 
found to have left not only the feast, but also their 
weapons behind them. 

To the astonishment of those of the band who re- 


mained, the poor man whom they had released from 
the tree suddenly appeared in a dress exactly similar 
to that worn by Robin's men. 

This was no other than Robin Hood himself, who 
had assumed the disguise, and acted the part de- 
scribed, to enable him the more easily to regulate the 
conduct of the band. 

" Will and Little John, with your men, follow the 
fugitives, and bring a few back," Robin shouted. 
" Alan and his band remain." 

The men directed, nothing loath, set off in pursuit; 
they had no difficulty in following up the track of the 
others, who were heard shouting as they ran. When 
the men in green made their appearance, the laggards 
seemed to be overpowered with terror, fell trembling on 
their knees, and, in pitiful accents, begged for mercy. 

Will, who led the pursuit, ordered his men to shoot 
a few arrows over the heads of those who were escap- 
ing ; while Little John and two of his men went on in 
advance, and secured six of the stragglers. 

These were immediately marched back to where the 
others were. They found that Robin had placed the 
baron, Friar Fittight, the steward, Hardfist, and the 
others in a group together, and had placed several 
men with drawn swords in charge of them, who had 
orders to kill any one who attempted to move. 

The sheriff's order for Robin's apprehension, and 
the Bishop of Hereford's special licence for the baron's 
marriage, were in Robin's hands, and he was shewing 
to Alan and his men the wonderful writing and the 
grand seals attached. 


Alan proposed that Fittight should read them 
aloud ; but Robin, who had ascertained what they 
were about, declared they should be read at the trial 
of the leaders of the expedition. 

Meanwhile, he ordered that the whole of the pri- 
soners should be divided into two groups and well 
guarded. The meats and drinks provided for the 
members of the expedition were then merrily dis- 
cussed by the rovers ; and Robin made them all drink 
success to the baron's enterprise, a toast which was 
received by the company with much favour. 

While they were thus engaged, the baron looked 
on with considerable agitation visible in every line of 
his countenance, as though the recollection of a certain 
dance, in which he had been one of the actors, fol- 
lowed by a solemn vow, haunted him. 

Hardfist kept his eyes upon the money-bags, which 
Alan had again got in his possession ; and looked 
more troubled about his second loss of the marks, 
than in fear about the treatment he might be sub- 
jected to. 

After the feast had been kept up with considerable 
humour for some time, the prisoners were invited to 
refresh themselves ; but their appetites had so far 
failed them, that they could by no means do justice 
to the tempting viands. When all appeared to have 
done their best, the weapons left behind by the fugi- 
tives were carefully collected, and on proceeding to 
load the horses with them, they came across the 
thongs with which Robin and his men were to have 
been bound. The discovery caused considerable 


merriment. The men would have thrown them away, 
but Robin said they would come in useful after a 
while, if they were long enough to hang a few men 
with ; whereat some significant glances were ex- 
changed by the unhappy prisoners. 

Robin permitted the baron to ride on one of the 
horses, which was almost as much punishment to him 
as walking would have been, as there was no saddle 
on its back. The rest of the prisoners were bound 
together by the thongs, and ordered to move for- 

Into the forest they went, marching several hours. 
At length, Robin blew a note upon his horn, which 
was immediately replied to, and in a short time the 
whole party came upon an open space in the forest, 
where they found a fat buck roasting over a fire, which 
filled the air with its odour for a considerable distance 
round in the most appetite-provoking manner. 

Here were Marian, Ellen* Friar Tuck, and several 
others. Ellen, on seeing her father, ran up to him 
and cast her arms about his neck, bidding him not be 
vexed with her, and making many inquiries about her 
mother. Hardfist received her embraces sullenly, 
but condescended to answer her inquiries. 

" Now," said Robin, when they had all reached the 
spot, " welcome every one to the brave man's forest- 
home! Especially welcome are you all, save the 
oath-breakers ; and no harm shall come to any 
save them." 

At this the major part of the prisoners seemed to 
become more cheerful ; but Baron de Younglove was 


so alarmed at these ominous words that, had not 
some of Robin's men been near to catch him, he 
would have fallen from his horse. Marian went up 
to him and, under the pretence of administering some 
water, whispered that he need not fear ; but the baron 
shook his head mournfully, as though he had made 
up his mind to be hanged. 

It being announced that the buck awaited their 
pleasure, the whole party, with only one or two ex- 
ceptions, appeared quite ready to fall to. Friar 
Tuck, on receiving from Robin a signal for grace, 

''What you are about to receive may the baron 
have to pay for. Amen." 

Robin's men laughed heartily at the friar's mode 
of asking a blessing, the prisoners contenting them- 
selves with a low chuckle. The baron sat swaying 
himself to and fro, recalling his broken oath, bemoan- 
ing his condition, and dreading the fate that might be 
in reserve for him. 

After the feast was ended, Robin gave orders to 
form a circle for the trial of the prisoners. Marian 
and Ellen were constituted judges, and the first to be 
tried were the baron, Friar Fittight, the steward, and 
Hardfist. These, Robin declared, were the leaders 
of the expedition against himself and his band, and 
should be punished with extreme severity if found 
guilty. The four men were, accordingly, placed in 
the centre of the circle. 

First the case of the baron was gone into. Robin 
was the principal witness against him ; and deposed 


to the circumstances under which they first met in 
Dale Church, and the baron's solemn vow. Then he 
described how the hostile party had been led into the 
forest by the baron. The principal evidence, how- 
ever, against him, consisted of the deeds which were 
found in his possession, and which Robin stopped in 
the course of his address to have read. 

Now Friar Tuck was not learned enough to read 
them, as Robin knew, and so he called upon Friar 
Fittight to read them aloud. The friar, with a sour 
visage, rose to comply with Robin's request ; but, 
before he began, Robin threatened that, if he varied 
one word, he would have him tied by his heels to a 
tree, and called Friar Tuck to stand by Fittight's 
side, and follow him as he read. Friar Tuck saw the 
joke ; but stepped fonvard very gravely and placed 
himself next to Fittight. As the friar proceeded in 
his reading, Tuck nodded affirmation at intervals. 

The recitation of the crimes that Robin and his 
men had committed caused loud laughter, which was 
changed, however, to a shout of indignation, as the 
document declared that the baron should be invested 
\rith power to execute summary vengeance on those 
of the band who resisted his authority, while Robin 
and some of the leaders were to be locked up in a 
dungeon of the nearest castle, which was that of 
Younglove's, and kept on low diet, until such time as 
the sheriff was at liberty to remove them to Notting- 
ham for execution. Nothing was said about a trial ; 
and the baron winced as Friar Fittight read that 
clause. Next was read the Bishop of Hereford's 


absolution from the oath taken by the baron in Dale 
Church ; and, finally, the special licence for his mar- 
riage to Ellen in the forest. 

Alan shook his fist at the baron when he heard 
that, but Ellen and Marian laughed outright. The 
reading of the documents being concluded, Robin 
demanded that the judges should order the baron to 
have his ears cut off and nose slit, for coming into the 
forest with an armed band against him and his men, 
especially after the oath he had sworn. This demand 
was received with a loud shout of approval by Robin 
Hood's men, who were restrained with difficulty from 
exercising summary vengeance upon the baron. When 
order was restored, the judges declared that there 
was no further need of any evidence against the 
others, and they should consult about the sentence ; 
whereupon they conversed in low whispers, while some 
of the rovers, in obedience to a signal from Robin, 
brought some thongs and a sharp carving-knife. 

After a short time had elapsed, Marian bade the 
prisoners stand up to receive judgment. She told 
them they had been convicted on the clearest evi- 
dence of having conspired to take, slay, or cause to 
be slain, Robin Hood, his friends, and associates. 
That their crime was aggravated by the previous 
good treatment they had received at the hands of 
Robin Hood. They, therefore, were of opinion that, 
for the good example of the whole, and of the sheriff 

j and others, the baron and his steward should be im- 

; mediately hanged. 

Four stout men then stepped forward, and pro- 



ceeded to bind the two on whom sentence had thus 
been pronounced. The rest of the prisoners looked 
on aghast, while the baron and the steward trembled 
from head to foot. In accents the most piteous the 
baron begged hard for one more trial to be allowed 
him, and laid the whole blame of his conduct on the 
Bishop of Hereford and the Sheriff of Nottingham. 
The steward joined in the cry for mercy, and de- 
clared that he had had no hand in the transactions 
whatever, except to follow his master's injunctions. 
Hardfist and Friar Fittight looked on, in anything 
but a happy state of mind, as shewn by sundry 
nervous twitchings that affected their frames. The 
baron made all sorts of promises with regard to his 
future conduct, if only his life was spared. At 
length, touched by his entreaties, Marian and Ellen 
came and knelt before Robin, begging for mercy 
toward the baron. 

" As judges," said Marian, " we could come to no 
other conclusion than that we have given ; but, as 
members of your band, we beg you to have mercy 
on these poor, though offending, men." 

Friar Tuck joined his voice to that of the fair 
suppliants; and Robin, who had no intention of 
carrying out the extreme punishment, ordered his 
men to unbind the prisoners again. 

Robin then called the leaders of the band to- 
gether, and, after a short consultation, offered the 
baron his life on the following terms : 

1st, That he took a second vow that he would 
never, directly or indirectly, aid, counsel, or assist 


any one, or himself plot, to capture or betray Robin 
Hood, or any of his men. 

2d, That whenever Robin Hood or any of his band 
were hard pressed by their enemies, and sought 
shelter at the baron's castle, that they should be re- 
ceived, protected, and delivered from danger. 

3d, That, in consideration of the entertainment he 
received, he would pay yearly TOO marks towards the 
general expenses of Robin Hood's band. 

When these terms were propounded, the baron 
declared his willingness to accept them ; and took an 
oath, propounded by Robin and Friar Tuck, that he 
would observe them to the end of his life. 

All the other prisoners were required to swear 
never again to meddle with the forest rovers on pain 
of instant death. This concluded the ceremony 
attending the mock trial. Will, who had a keen 
relish for the ridiculous, now suggested that they 
should have another dance before they parted. This 
was agreed to, and he was made master of the cere- 
monies. Alan brought out his harp, while Will 
arranged the dancers. 

The baron had another reverend partner in the 
person of Friar Fittight, and the steward was placed 
opposite to Hardfist. The dance, however, was not 
half as comical as the one in Dale Church; the 
baron seemed too infirm, or too dispirited, to throw 
the vigour into his steps he had displayed on the 
previous occasion ; and at Ellen's intercession, on her 
father's account, the dance was brought to a speedy 


When this was finished, Robin ordered the wine- 
cask to be broached, which had been provided spe- 
cially for the entertainment of the baron ; and every 
one was invited to drink, " Confusion to all foresters, 
and success to all forest rovers !" 

Robin next had the bag of marks opened, and 
divided amongst those present. Every member of 
his band received three marks, and, as a politic meas- 
ure, the prisoners one mark each. The effect of 
this was of the most satisfactory character, for the 
members of the unfortunate expedition vowed that 
they would do Robin and his men a good turn, if 
ever it lay in their power. 

It was now too late for the baron and his party to 
return that night; so a huge fire was constructed, 
round which they sat several hours, drinking the 
baron's "humming strong" ale, and telling stories 
of adventures in the forest while hunting the 
king's fat deer. Then one after the other dropped 
asleep, and by midnight only the sentinels remained 

Robin and Alan, with their wives, accompanied by 
eight of their men, had repaired to Greenwood Glade 
House, whither, as a matter of prudence, th^y did not 
think it wise to convey their prisoners. 

So the latter slept all night on their beds of turf, 
and weit roused at sunrise by the ringing of the 
birds in the trees over their heads. 

The men whose fleetness of foot enabled them to 
escape capture, continued running, long after their 
pursuers had ceased the chase. They were led in 


the race by a man who was called Longshanks, from 
his great speed ; and he fully justified his fame as a 
swift runner on this occasion. When they were near- 
ing the castle, a brief consultation was held. Their 
approach could not fail to attract notice. They were 
unarmed, had no wounds, were without their leaders, 
and " Where was the baron ?" would, they knew, be 
the first of a series of questions they should find 
difficult to answer. 

At length a plan was hit upon whereby they hoped 
to save their fame, and a story made up to account 
for the absence of so many of the party. 

First of all, they tore their garments as though by 
spears, afterwards many of them pricked their hands 
and faces with thorns, so as to make them bleed. In 
this state they approached the castle. 

Round about the entrance there had been loung- 
ing all the afternoon a number of people, to see the 
expedition return with the prisoners they had so 
bravely captured. 

The appearance of the men spread through the 
valley with great rapidity, and before they fairly 
reached the castle there was a great crowd assembled. 
The few servants left in charge sallied out, and waited 
on the drawbridge for the men to come up, and 
amongst others the one-eyed porter. As the men 
came down the hill-side, the people noticed that the 
baron and the friar, and many others, were missing ; 
also that the horses were not with them, and that 
the men were without arms. The porter fixed his 
solitary eye upon the forlorn group as they came 


straggling along, and stood as though petrified at 
their appearance. 

" Where 's the baron ?" " Where 's the baron ?" some 
shouted as the men came up. " Where 's Hardfist ? 
oh, where's my dear Hardfist ?" queried the dame of 
that ilk, catching hold of Longshanks. 

" Don't ask me, dame," the man replied ; " ask 
Heaven, for they're all slain!" 

At this a thrill of horror passed through the 

" Look at us," Longshanks continued ; " we Ve had 
spears thrust through and through our garments. 
'Twas a mercy one of us was left alive. But we 
peppered them though, and left Robin Hood and all 
his men dead in a heap together. But the baron 's 
dead, and the friar, and Hardfist, and the steward, 
and a sight of our brave fellows ! Heaven help us !" 

All the fellows reiterated the story Longshanks 
told, though with some slight discrepancies. Two or 
three boasted that it was by their hand Robin was 
slain, while some few stated that Robin was not quite 
dead when they left the field. 

Dame Hardfist fell to wringing her hands, and 
calling aloud upon her poor dear husband. 

The people listened to the story of the battle with 
mouths wide open ; and little circles crowded round 
each warrior, isolating him from his fellows, and 
examining the rents in his garments, and touching 
his wounded hand or cheek in silent wonder. 

Of all the crowd only one was bold enough to 
express a doubt about the valour of the men, and 


discredit ths story of the death of so many on both 

This was the one-eyed porter, who, as he listened 
to the stories told by one and by another, vowed 
they were mightily different in their tales, and looked 
as if they had been dragging each other through 
some thorn-bushes. 

Some of the men who had come from a distance 
were received into the houses of the people that 
night ; and, while still telling their stories over again 
in the morning, were astonished to hear a loud shout 
resound through the valley. 

Out into the roads the people ran, and, to the 
astonishment of many, the delight of some, and the 
confusion of the first batch of heroes, they saw, com- 
ing down the hill into the valley, the baron, the friar, 
the steward, Hardfist, and the rest of the members 
of the expedition. They descended the valley with 
loud shouts and waving of hands, not a man missing, 
all alive and well. 

The people ran to meet them with open arms, and 
embraced them with the most frantic expressions of 
delight. To their astonishment the new warriors had 
no bruises about their person, nor rents in their 
clothes. Their story was soon told, but only to be 
told again and again before the conclusion of the 
day, to the mortification of the runaways, and to the 
immense credit of Robin, whose name was henceforth 
known in the valley as that of a brave and generous 
man, the resolute defender of his home, and the 
friend of the poor Saxon, wherever found. 


The Marriage of Sheriff Gaminer Robin's Adventure with the Potter 
Robin sells Pots in Nottingham Lives with the Sheriff Brings 
the Sheriff into the Forest Capture of the Brothers Cobble. 

|FTER the events detailed in the preceding 
chapter, nothing occurred worthy of record 
during the remainder of that year. The 
glory of the expedition, and what befell it, 
was not long in reaching Nottingham, where it was told, 
with numerous wonderful additions, both in the Saxon 
and Norman quarters of the town. The sheriff heard 
of the affair, and laughed at the result of it, but was 
too pleasantly engaged at the time to trouble himself 
much about it. The fact was, that Gammer had fallen 
in love, and he was busy courting about the time the 
expedition started. Two other reasons that doubt- 
less contributed somewhat to his growing indifference 
to Robin and his doings were, that time was effacing 
the memory of the rough usage he had received in the 
forest in conjunction with Gruff; and that, as sheriff, 
he did not come into such contact and opposition 


with him as he did when head forester. He was. 
however, always ready to assent to any proposal for 
his capture ; but the carrying out of it he left to 
the foresters, or any one who felt himself specially 

Before the news of the baron's treatment reached 
Nottingham, the sheriff was married, and too much 
absorbed in the joys of newly married life, to care 
anything about the baron's misadventures. 

The winter came again, and the poor Saxons in 
Nottingham were plagued as in the winter preceding 
the king's visit. They bore their sufferings with con- 
siderable patience, vowing amongst themselves that 
the day should come when they would have revenge. 

Robin's men, soon after the baron's expedition, ex- 
changed their Lincoln green attire for the garb of 
labourers, and repaired to their several homes. They 
reported to Robin, in the course of the winter, that 
there were scores of men about them who were read}', 
at a very short notice, to join him in any excursion 
he might propose. 

There remained at Greenwood Glade House only 
such as Robin selected to be his permanent followers. 

At length the dreary winter passed away, and May- 
day came, which was celebrated by a feast, at which 
all the scouts and stout friends in the villages round 
about were present. Robin found, to his joy, that he 
had a band of between sixty and seventy on whom 
he could rely. 

A few weeks afterwards, Robin proposed to Will 
and Little John that they should go in search of an 


adventure in the forest, leaving Friar Tuck and Alan 
with the other men to make provision for the day's 

It so happened that, on that day, a fair was being 
held in Nottingham, and they determined to go along 
the high-road to the town. They had not proceeded 
far when they heard a man's voice singing : 

" For they quafFd mighty ale, 
And they told a blithe tale, 
And so will we do now, 
Jolly hearts, jolly hearts, jolly hearts, 
And so will we do now." 

As they listened they heard the crunching of wheels, 
as though the singer was driving a cart. 

11 Master," quoth Little John to Robin, "I know 
the voice it 's Breaklock the potter. I Ve met him 
at Mansfield, and he gave me three such strokes as 
I shall never forget" 

Robin laughed. 

"I'll wager you ten shillings," said Little John, 
" there 's not one amongst us who can make him stop 
against his will." 

"Done!" cried Robin; "you two stand aside, and 
I'll meet him." 

Little John and Will drew aside behind a neigh- 
bouring tree, to watch the encounter. 

Robin threw himself upon the ground to await the 
coming of the potter. He was dressed in green, and 
wore at his side a short sword, while a buckler hung 
at his back. 

As soon as the potter came in sight, Robin sprang 
up, and with a hasty step made toward him. The 


potter was riding in a rough cart filled with pots, 
drawn by one horse. Robin seized the horse by his 
head, and bade the potter descend and pay him toll 
before he proceeded further. 

"What dost thou want ?" asked the potter, survey- 
ing Robin with astonishing coolness. 

" Thou hast haunted this road three years or more," 
Robin replied, " and thou hast never yet shewn so 
much courtesy as to send me one penny of toll." 

" What is thy name, and wherefore dost thou de- 
mand toll from me ? Art thou the king, or one of his 
foresters ?" the potter asked, with a loud laugh. 

" I am lord of this forest," Robin replied ; " and my 
name is Robin Hood." 

" Nay then, Robin," quoth the potter, " thou shalt 
have no toll from me, save some strokes on thy hide, 
so let go my horse." 

Robin refused, whereupon the potter went to his 
cart and drew thereout a good stout quarterstaff. 
Robin drew his sword, and was on the point of un- 
slinging his buckler, when up came the potter and, 
with a back-handed blow, knocked the buckler out 
of his hand. 

" That potter will trouble our master, I fear," quoth 
Little John to Will. 

Robin stooped to pick up his buckler, when the 
potter gave him such a blow on the neck as brought 
him to the ground. 

"That's enough," cried Little John; "let's to his 
help, or surely the potter will slay him." 

Out from behind the tree sprang Will and Little 


John. The potter started as he saw them approach, 
and retreated to his horse. 

"Shall I have your ten shillings?" said Little John 
to Robin, who still lay on the ground ; " or will you 
have mine?" 

" Nay," quoth Robin ; " if it had been a hundred 
shillings, in good faith they would all be thine." 

" It is full little courtesy, as I have heard wise men 
say," exclaimed the potter, " to stop a poor man in 
the roadway, and try to rob him of a toll." 

" Thou speakest the truth," Robin replied ; " and 
thou mayest drive forth every day if thou likest, and 
shalt never be hindered of me or my men." 

" It were well," quoth Will, " that one of us had 
yet a blow or two in exchange from the potter." 

So saying, he drew a knife from his belt, and made 
as though he would have cut a staff. 

" Nay, nay," said Robin ; " one bout is enough to 
try the mettle of a man, and though mine has been 
a short one, he shall fight no more to-day." 

The potter, however, declared that he was scarcely 
beaten, and right willing to fight all three, one after 
the other; but Robin would not consent. He then 
proposed to accompany the potter to Nottingham, 
and help him to dispose of his wares ; but the potter 
replied, that there was more profit to be had in the 
forest than by selling pots in Nottingham. 

" Then," quoth Robin, "I'll e'en go by myself and 
sell thy pots ; thou shalt exchange clothes with me, 
and abide with my men until I return, and thou shalt 
have full payment for thy pots." 


The potter laughed at the request, but, perceiving a 
chance of some forest sport, cried, "A bargain," gladly. 

Will and Little John urged Robin not to venture 
upon so dangerous an enterprise, that the sheriff was 
no friend of his, and, if he were known, would hang 
him before his men could hear of his capture. 

Robin would not listen to their fears. So he and 
the potter changed clothes ; and Robin vowed he 
would not bring a single pot back with him on the 
next day, when he promised to meet the three two 
miles out of Nottingham. 

" If thou dost sell them all," the potter shouted, 
"thou shalt take my good pots to Nottingham as 
often as I come this way." 

"An thou makest a good bargain," Will added, 
" bring us some green cloth for coats for our men." 

" Ay, that I will," Robin replied ; " and I '11 bring 
the sheriff himself too." 

There was a loud laugh, and then Robin bade them 
" good morrow," and started on his journey, leaving 
the potter to be entertained until his return. 

Forward jogged Robin, cracking his whip and sing- 
ing away, until, at length, he reached Nottingham. 
He drove boldly into the Norman quarter of the 
town, fixed his cart in front of the sheriff's gate, and 
gave his horse to the ostler of the Norman Arms Inn 
to be stabled. Then, standing by his cart, Robin 
shouted, at the top of his voice, 

I" Pots, cheap pots ; 
Who '11 buy my ware ; 
Pots, cheap pots ; 
None so cheap in all the fair ! " 


Wives and widows pressed round, pricing his goods, 
which, to their astonishment, they discovered were 
really the cheapest ever sold at Nottingham fair. 
Pots that were worth tenpence, Robin sold for six- 
pence ; and others that usually fetched fivepence, he 
charged threepence for. 

At so cheap a rate, he soon found customers, who 
bought freely, and then shook their heads, saying he 
could not have been a potter long, or he would have 
known his trade better. 

When Robin had almost emptied his cart, it was 
about noon, and seeing that he had but five pots left, 
he gave over selling, and, carrying them in his hand, 
knocked loudly at the sheriff's door. A maid came, 
to whom Robin gave the pots, telling her they were a 
present to her mistress. The girl looked up at Robin, 
believing he was only jesting ; but when she saw that 
he really meant what he^said, she took them, and ran 
off laughing. In a few minutes she returned with the 
sheriff's wife, who insisted that Robin should go in 
and dine with herself and her husband. 

This was just what Robin wanted, so in he went 
boldly. He met the sheriff in the yard, and greeted 
him with a low bow. 

" See what the potter has given us," Dame Gammer 
said, holding up the pots. 

"He is full welcome to my house," replied the 
sheriff; "let us go in to meat." 

The sheriff led the way into the house, which Robin 
saw was supplied with every luxury of the age. In 
the dining-room were costly chairs with carved 


backs, and a solid oak table was spread with platters, 
drinking-horns, and knives. Over the fireplace hung 
a bow crossed by a spear, and in the centre a quiver. 
Robin cast a hasty glance around, but,' without ap- 
pearing to notice anything, sat down to table. 

During dinner, hearing the two waiting men speak 
of a great shooting match for forty shillings, which 
was to come off that afternoon, he made up his mind 
that, whether invited or not, he would be present at 
the match. 

After dinner was over, however, the sheriff invited 
him to go and witness the shooting, promising that 
he should see right good sport. Forth they went to 
where the butt was placed. The sheriff's men began 
shooting, and seemed mightily pleased when they hit 
the target within half-a-bow's length of the centre. 
Seeing this, Robin could no longer contain himself. 

" If I had a bow," said he aloud, " I 'd shew you 
how to shoot." 

" Thou shalt have a try then," said the sheriff, " for 
thou dost seem a likely man." 

The sheriff's men laughed at the idea of the potter 
beating them. 

A man was sent to get a number of bows, from 
which Robin chose one. He drew the string, but 
declared it was but weak gear, whereat the men who 
had been shooting laughed again, and bade him take 
care he broke no pots with his bolt. Robin heeded 
them not, but, fixing a bolt on the string, shot, and 
struck the target in the centre. 

The sheriff's men stared, but vowed they would 


have another shot. Again each man fired with no 
better success than before, while Robin a second time 
struck the centre of the butt. The others were very 
angry at their defeat, while the sheriff himself laughed 
heartily, and made game of his men. 

" Potter," said he, " thou art a man, and worthy to 
bear a bow in any shooting match." 

Robin protested that he had shot but badly, and 
declared that, if he had had the bow which lay in his 
cart, and which Robin Hood gave him, he should 
have shot much better. 

" Dost thou know Robin Hood ?" the sheriff asked, 
laying hold of him by the shoulder. 

" Ay, that I do," Robin replied ; " and as I go back 
to-morrow, two miles from the town I shall meet him 
to deliver some green cloth for his men, which he 
bade me buy." 

" I'd give 100 to meet with him/' exclaimed the 
sheriff, fiercely, his almost forgotten wrongs suddenly 
reviving at the unexpected mention of Robin's name, 
and especially at the chance of capturing him at last 
without much difficulty. 

" If you will only do as I advise you," said Robin, 
" you shall see him to-morrow before we eat bread." 

Robin proposed that the sheriff, accompanied by 
one man, should go with him in the morning into the 
forest. Robin was to drive the cart, and, to avoid 
exciting suspicion, the sheriff and his man were to lie 
down on the bottom of it and submit to be covered 
with the cloth that was intended for Robin's men. 

The sheriff was very particular in asking the pre- 


else spot where the potter had agreed to meet Robin. 
The potter assured the sheriff that that very morning 
he had encountered Robin in the forest, and that he 
was to meet him the next morning alone at the same 
spot. The shooting match was broken up, Robin 
being adjudged the winner of the prize, and receiving 
the forty shillings. 

Home he went with the sheriff, who was elated at 
the prospect of capturing Robin. There was a good 
supper provided. Bed-time came, and Robin was 
shewn into the best spare room in the house ; and when 
he and the sheriff parted for the night, he flung himself 
into the bed, and, burying his face in the silk coverlit, 
laughed himself to sleep at the success of his plot. 

In the morning, the sheriff was up full early. One 
of his most trusty men was chosen, and the secret im- 
parted to him of the merry errand they were going 
upon. While they were talking over the plan with 
Robin, Dame Gammer went and purchased the cloth 
the potter wanted, which the sheriff vowed he would 
make him a present of, for his services, besides the 
;ioo. Robin saw the sheriff count the money out 
and place it in a bag, which was then fastened to his 
girdle. At length, the cloth being brought, and a 
quantity of clean straw laid over the bottom of the 
cart, the sheriff and his man, whose name was All- 
luck, got in and were covered over with the cloth. 
Robin thanked Dame Gammer for her kind entertain- 
ment ; and then drove out of the sheriff's yard, along 
the streets of Nottingham, through one of the prin- 
cipal gates, and on towards the forest 


The sheriff and All-luck were provided with swords, 
and a stout cord wherewith to tie Robin's hands to- 
gether ; and Robin, as he walked by the side of the 
cart, heard the sheriff chuckling and laughing in antici- 
pation of getting his old foe into his power. 

Robin thought the forest never looked so fair as on 
that morning, when, with his strange burden in the 
cart, he drove within its precincts. The trees over- 
hung the road along which the cart jolted and tossed, 
and on every hand merry songsters poured forth their 
joyous notes, singing sweetly to the old trees, that 
sang again to them, as a gentle zephyr played amongst 
their leaves. 

They had travelled fully two miles when the sheriff, 
growing uneasy, asked the potter whether Robin was 
not in sight, or whether he had missed the place of 
meeting. Robin replied that they had indeed come 
to the place, but he saw no one. 

"In which case," said Robin, " I was to blow a 
gentle blast upon my horn." 

"Thou didst not tell me that before," said the 
sheriff, in a serious voice. 

Robin had adroitly managed to drive the cart on 
the very edge of the roadway bordering a deep ditch, 
and loosening the girth of the horse, turned the cart 
quickly round, and tilted the sheriff and his man head 
over heels into the ditch. At the same moment he 
blew a loud blast on his horn. 

The sheriff and All-luck shot out of the cart like 
two bags of sand, and rolled over each other, disap- 
pearing for some moments in the mud and water at 


the bottom of the ditch. Both men scrambled to 
their feet, with their heads, faces, and dresses covered 
with mud in such a way that Robin, at the first glance, 
could not distinguish one from the other. Both men 
appeared quite bewildered. They stroked the mud 
from their faces, and spat it out of their mouths. 
Being almost blinded, and consequently not knowing 
which way to turn, they stood still in the ditch until 
they were able to see. 

" Potter," the sheriff exclaimed, " thou hast served 
us a dirty trick, and shalt dearly rue it." 

Robin roared with laughter at the figure the sheriff 
and his man cut, and paid no heed to his threats. 

Before the two were well out of the ditch, up ran 
Will, Alan, the potter, and Friar Tuck. 

The sheriff, very much perplexed, gazed intently 
upon the three as they came up, as though he looked 
for Robin ; but failing to recognise him, turned to the 
supposed potter, and was about to ask him what he 
meant, when Will, raising his cap to Robin, ex- 

" Save thee, Robin Hood ! good master, thou art 
right welcome." 

" Ay, truly welcome," added the friar. 

Said Alan, " But who are the strangers so bold 
that press into our domain ?" 

"Thou hast deceived me," said the sheriff to Robin. 

" Nay," quoth Robin ; " thou hast deceived thy- 
self. I promised you should meet Robin alone, and 
thou hast been alone with him up to now ; but didst 
thou think I was going to wait all day for the coming 


of thy wits to teach thee who was thy guide ? Nay, 
verily, I've kept my promise ; and now shalt thou 
spend a day with Robin, and fulfil thy part of the 
bargain, so just hand over the ^"100." 

The sheriff, fearing that resistance would only pro- 
voke punishment, unhung the bag of money, and threw 
it on the ground. 

" I had the misfortune to get into the ditch," Robin 
said to the potter. 

" Thou art a bad driver," replied he ; " but hast thou 
sold the pots?" 

" Ay, all of them," Robin rejoined, " save five, 
which the sheriff's wife was pleased to have from me, 
and for which she now sends me this bag of gold." 

The sheriff and All-luck paid little heed to the 
passing conversation, but busied themselves in scrap- 
ing the mud off their clothes. 

Robin declared he^would not be behind hand in 
entertaining his guests, in return for the manner in 
which he had been treated at the sheriff's house. The 
sheriff protested that he had very important business 
to transact in Nottingham, and begged hard to be 
allowed to depart ; but the rovers protested that they 
would never be guilty of such a want of courtesy to- 
wards guests invited into the forest by their master. 

The potter exchanged clothes with Robin again, 
and received the full price of his pots, and a hand- 
some present besides. But Robin found that his cus- 
tomers had spoken wisely when they said he had not 
been a potter long, for he had sold his wares at prices 
much below their value. The sheriff and All-luck 


were very unwillingly obliged to accompany Robin 
and his men into the forest, but to a part far distant 
from the Glade House. They came upon a place pre- 
pared for their dinner, and some tempting venison 
roasting over the fire. All the time the sheriff was 
made the butt for all sorts of jokes, and received con- 
stant reminders of the several disasters that had come 
upon him in chase of Robin Hood. 

At length he and his man got leave to depart, and 
were accompanied some distance by several of Robin's 

Dame Gammer had not been able to keep secret 
the object of her husband's journey ; and on the walls 
were assembled a large number of the sheriff's friends, 
to see him enter with his prisoner. Late in the after- 
noon he arrived with his attendant, but minus his 
prisoner; and both presented such a figure, through the 
mud having in many parts dried upon their clothes, 
that all who saw them burst into loud laughter ; and 
their entry into the town was of a most undignified 

The sheriff was excessively annoyed at the trick 
that had been played upon him by Robin Hood, and 
very charitably wished all potters were baked in their 
own furnaces, and as to the rovers, vowed that he 
would hang the very first that fell into his hands. 

The opportunity for carrying out his determination 
was, unfortunately, not long in occurring. The very 
day of the sheriff's visit into the forest, his old com- 
rade Gruff had effected the capture of three stout 
young men in Mansfield, on a charge of stealing the 


king s deer. These three were brothers of the name 
of Cobble. They were called respectively, Jerry, 
Jaunty, and Jolly, and lived with their widowed 
mother in the village. In the intervals between their 
rude farming occupations, they amused themselves by 
snaring hares or trapping foxes, like many others in 
the village, and so imbibed an unconquerable love 
for these sports. At length they flew at higher game, 
and many a fine deer became their victim. Nor were 
these deeds done in secret, but openly ; and the pro- 
duce of the sport was fairly divided amongst their 

In this way, such a degree of friendship existed in 
the place, that Gruff had found the greatest difficulty 
in detecting the offenders. Whenever a forester was 
sent by him to watch in the neighbourhood, the man's 
presence became generally known in the village, and 
while he remained lurking about, the less exciting 
labours of the field were indulged in by way of change, 
and to escape detection. As soon, however, as the 
man was withdrawn, the game was hunted with all the 
more zest by the villagers after their forced abstinence. 

So matters had been going on, from year to year, 
in all the villages in the neighbourhood of the forest. 
Sometimes the deer would lie down in the very sight 
of the villagers, as though they were desirous of being 
invited to walk into their larders ; or some fat hares 
would fall asleep in their gardens, amongst the ver> 
herbs in which it was customary to cook them. In 
such cases, the virtue of the villagers was not proof 
against temptation ; and so the hares found themselves 


cooking amidst their favourite herbs, while the deer 
received their invitation by a trusty messenger from 
the bow. 

The three young Cobbles were leaders in every 
sport that took place in Mansfield. They had no 
equal with the bow ; and could kill a bird with an 
arrow, or knock it over with a bolt, better than any 
one in the village. They were as skilful in trapping 
hares and foxes ; and never returned from the forest 
without a haunch of venison, unless they pleased. 
They were daring ringleaders in every adventure ; and 
good sons to their widowed mother, who was entirely 
dependent upon them for support in her old age. 

Gruff had thrown his evil eye upon them many a 
time. Grown desperate at last, he determined to 
watch in the forest himself, and, accompanied by one 
forester, see who the rovers were that thinned the 
deer. So night after night, and day after day, for 
nearly a fortnight, they kept their stealthy watch. 

One moonlight night, when the thin clouds skimmed 
across the face of the heavens, throwing into rapid 
shade, or bathing in light, patches of the forest, they 
heard from their hiding-place (which was a comfort- 
able corner amongst the branches of an oak) the sound 
of voices, that they recognised as those of the three 
brothers. There could be no mistake about their 
Identity either, for they called each other by name. 
Under the very branches of the tree on which the 
watchers sat, the brothers stood, on the look-out for 
their prey, and in a few minutes a fine fat buck, shot 
through the side, fell dead within a dozen yards of the 


Gruff heard one propose to carry an antler 
home, because they were so short of drinking-horns ; 
and after some time had elapsed, during which they 
were employed in cutting the animal up, they de- 
parted, laden with the spoil. Gruff and his fellow 
could have shot the three from where they sat, but 
were too much afraid ; and the young men were 
allowed to depart quietly. As soon as the brothers 
had gone, they descended from the tree, and repaired 
to Mansfield, where they remained the rest of the 
night. In the morning, Gruff sent messengers to 
neighbouring villages, summoning the foresters to 
meet him in Mansfield that night. 

Accordingly, at the hour appointed, no less than 
twenty foresters were assembled, and they then pro- 
ceeded to Dame Cobble's house, which they quietly 

Gruff knocked loudly at the. door. 

Hearing the noise, the dame roused her sons, and 
Jerry, the eldest, demanded who was knocking. 

Gruff replied, that it was the king's foresters. 

Jerry bade him go elsewhere. 

The next moment, however, the door was broken 
open, and Gruff's men poured in, followed by their 

In a moment the three brothers were seized, and 
their hands bound behind their backs. 

The house was searched, and an antler that had 
fresh blood upon it, and a large quantity of venison, 
were found. The antler was carried off, to be used in 
evidence against the prisoners ; and the whole party 



then left the house before the presence of the for 
was known in the village. 

Dame Cobble wept bitterly when she saw her sons 
bound, and begged hard that they might be released, 
to which Gruff only answered with a hoarse laugh. 
The old woman then attempted to follow them, as 
they went off with her three sons, but was rudely 
thrust back into the house, the door of which was 
fastened from the outside. 



The Trial and Sentence of the Cobbles Their Rescue by Robin Hood 
The Bishop of Hereford's Visit to Dale Abbey Robin captures 
the Bishop, and makes him dance in his Boots. 

| RUFF and his men succeeded in conveying 
their prisoners to Nottingham without 
being molested, and they were lodged 
safely in Nottingham Jail. In the 
morning the foresters repaired to the sheriff's house, 
and narrated what had happened. The antler which 
was found in the house was produced, and this was 
held a conclusive proof of the men's guilt. 

The sheriff repaired to the jail, where the men 
were brought before him. A jury was impannelled, 
which was composed of six foresters and six Norman 
householders. The evidence was repeated in the 
presence of the prisoners ; the jury found them guilty, 
and the sheriff sentenced them to be hung the fol- 
lowing morning in the Saxon market-place, as a 
warning to evil-doers in general, and the Saxons in 


Orders were given for the construction of ' 
gallows ; and while the people were employed on the 
work, a little matter, of infinite importance to the 
prisoners, was taking place in the forest. 

When some of Dame Cobble's neighbours were 
passing her house that morning, they noticed that 
the door was fastened on the outside. This excited 
their suspicions ; and, on going up to the house and 
calling out, they were answered by the dame within, 
who besought them to let her out. 

The door was quickly opened, and the poor woman 
released. She told her neighbours what had hap- 
pened, and then, leaving them to talk over the matter, 
hobbled off on her way to Nottingham. 

That same morning, Robin, having risen with the 
lark, was sauntering through the forest, when he met 
the poor old woman, who was crying bitterly as she 
walked. In answer to his inquiries, she told him that 
her three sons had been captured by the foresters, 
' and taken to Nottingham. Robin tried to console 
the old woman, by vowing that he would rescue 
them ere three days were fled. 

He led the old woman into the forest, and meeting 
with Friar Tuck, directed him to keep her in the 
house at the Glade until he returned. Then ex- 
changing garments with the friar, he hastened to 
Nottingham, where he saw the men busy erecting 
the gallows in the market-place, and was told that in 
the morning three forest rovers were to be hung 

Having obtained this information, Robin betook 



Rself to the forest again, and held consultation 
with his leaders, as to what plan they should adopt 
for the rescue of the brothers. They were not long 
in deciding ; and then Robin, Alan, Will, and Little 
John started off to the villages round about, to 
acquaint their trusty friends with the work that they 
had to do. 

By night all arrangements were completed, and 
the leaders met again in the Greenwood Glade. 
Unfortunately, Little John met with an accident as 
he was returning to the forest. He had had an 
awkward fall, and one leg was so severely swollen in 
the morning, that it was resolved to leave him be- 

The poor old woman had been warmly welcomed 
by Marian and Ellen ; but all they said could not 
console her, and it was with considerable difficulty 
that they persuaded her to remain with them, her 
desire to see her sons was so strong. But Robii? 
vowed so solemnly that they should return with him 
that day, that she at last consented to remain be- 

There was a great stir in Nottingham to see the 
execution. Some had said that it was Robin Hood 
and two of his men that had been caught, and threats 
not a few were made use of, in case this was found 
out to be true. 

Robin, soon after daybreak, started for the town. 
On his way he met a beggar, who wore a cloak 
patched with black, blue, and red. 

Robin accosted him, when the beggar said there 



day, ana 

was a sight to be seen in Nottingham that day, ; 
he was running away because the sheriff had wanted 
him to be his executioner. This was capital news 
for Robin, who at once proposed that they should 
exchange garments. The man hesitated at first, 
believing that Robin was only making fun of. him; 
but when Robin pulled out of his pocket some 
money, which he said he would give the man to boot, 
he saw that Robin was in earnest, and was not long 
in stripping off his clothes, which Robin immediately 
assumed; and they parted, each apparently well 
pleased with his bargain. 

Robin hurried on to Nottingham, the streets of 
which he found filled with people, and everybody 
discussing the merits of the execution that was to 
take place. A cry was raised of "Hangman!" fol- 
lowed by some hisses, which caused Robin to turn 
his head, and, to his astonishment, he found that he 
was the object of the people's shout, and that a 
crowd was gathering at his heels. He walked as 
quickly as he could through the town towards the 
sheriff's house. The hour fixed for the execution 
had not yet arrived, but Robin met the sheriff riding 
on horseback, followed by a number of his men, all 
armed with spears, on their way to the jail. On 
catching sight of Robin, the sheriff called out, 

"Well, wilt thou be hangman to-day ?" 

Robin nodded assent. 

" It is well," said the sheriff; "thou hast saved me 
some trouble. But I'm afraid you'll have to look 


arp after the suits, that they be not torn after the 

Robin shook his head and laughed. 

"Well, if they are torn, I'll make it up to thee. 
Thirteenpence," the sheriff added, as though he was 
contemplating some bargain, " 'twill be a good day's 
work for thee." 

On seeing the sheriff, the people slunk away. 
Robin fell into the procession immediately behind the 
sheriff. When they came to the prison, the sheriff 
and Robin entered, leaving the remainder outside. 
The three condemned men were pacing their cell as 
the sheriff entered, nothing daunted at the prospect 
of an immediate death. 

"Has our mother come?" asked Jolly, the 

" Thou dost not want thy mother here," the sheriff 
replied ; " you 'd best think of the strange journey 
you 're about to make." 

"There's one consolation," said Jaunty, "the 
sheriff must die one day, and," he added, in a loud 
whisper, " maybe a rover's hand will speed him on 
the way." 

The sheriff started as the man spoke, and then 
Signalled Robin to bind them. This Robin imme- 
diately proceeded to do, and in the operation man- 
aged to whisper into the ear of one of them, " All 's 
right ; Robin will be here." Before they left the 
cell, Jerry asked, as a last favour, that they might be 
allowed to be alone for a minute. This request was 
granted, and Jerry took the opportunity of com- 


municating to his brothers the words whispered 
his ear. 

When the time was up, the cell door was again 
opened, and the men were led out and placed in a 
low cart, where they knelt down, and the cart moved 
on, surrounded by the sheriff's spearmen. 

There was a great crowd of people in the streets, 
and many ill words were shouted at the sheriff as he 
rode along. At length they came in sight of the 
gallows, against which there was reared a ladder, 
and from the centre beam there hung three noosed 
" ropes. 

Robin cast a searching glance amongst the crowd 
as the cart stopped, and, to his joy, he recognised 
Will and Alan, and thereby knew the force that he 
relied on Was at hand. 

The spearmen were ordered to clear a space 
around the gallows, the sheriff riding about to see 
that proper order was kept. The open space was 
some time in forming ; but at length it was made, 
and the sheriff called out, 

" Now, hangman, waste no time." 

The hangman, however, had been busily engaged, 
while the sheriff was looking after his men, in quietly 
severing the bonds of the brothers, who, in obedi- 
ence to Robin's injunction, still knelt down in the 

On hearing the sheriff's order, Robin sprang up 
nimbly. The sheriff looked at him, and turned livid 
with rage. 

Robin held a sword in his hand, which he was 


brandishing over his head. The three brothers were 
up, with their arms loose, and standing back to back t 

" Who 's on Robin Hood's side ? " shouted Robin. 

In an instant there was a roar of voices ; the slender 
barrier of spearmen that separated the people from 
the gallows was broken, the people seized the spears 
from the men's hands, and arming themselves, struck 
right and left amongst the Normans. 

At the same time, Robin's men, numbering some 
fifty, pressed forward to where- Robin and the bro- 
thers now stood, hemmed in by friends and foes. They 
had leaped down from the cart at Robin's bidding, 
but, the next moment, were in danger of their lives 
by the press of people. Some of Robin's men thrust 
a sword into each brother's hand, which they wielded 
with a vigour inspired by their love of life. 

The sheriff was seized, and would have been 
dragged off his horse, but was saved by the plunging 
of the animal, which, frightened by the noise, reared 
and kicked savagely. Taking advantage of his 
horse's restiveness, he dashed through the crowd, nor 
stopped to look behind him until he had reached 
his house. 

" I do verily believe," he said to his wife, " that the 
devil is in Robin Hood ; he's in Nottingham again 
to-day, and has rescued the prisoners." 

The fight continued in the streets, and it was with 
difficulty that Robin and his fellows got clear of the 
crowd. Then they made a dash for the nearest gate, 
and fought their way out into the open country. The 
tumult in the town lasted for a considerable time; 


and many broken heads and aching sides were the 
result of the sheriff's attempt to hang the three 

Robin dispersed his band on- getting into the forest, 
taking with him the three brothers whose lives he had 
so bravely saved. 

Old Dame Cobble, when she saw them again, fell 
on their necks and embraced them, one after the 
other, without a word ; her tears fell too fast, and her 
joy was too great, to permit of her tongue speaking. 
She remained with them in the forest for several 
years ; and at length died in a good old age, and was 
buried under an old oak-tree. 

A few weeks after what was ironically called " the 
Nottingham execution," Robin received intelligence 
from the Dale that the Bishop of Hereford was ex- 
pected at the abbey, to complete the transfer of 
land to Abbot Scaregrace. The abbot, after a good 
deal of manoeuvring, had induced the bishop to con- 
sent to the transfer of the land to Dale Abbey, on 
payment to him of 300. A time had been appointed 
for the signing of the necessary deeds, and the bishop 
left Hereford with a large retinue to go to the abbey. 

His lordship, remembering the very unpleasant 
nature of the charges that had been made against 
him, now brought with him a full train, in order to 
make an impression in the village and amongst the 
brethren of the abbey. 

For several days before the arrival of the bishop, 
servants sent in advance rode into the village richly 
dressed. The bishop himself at last came with his 


immediate attendants. They had journeyed through 
the forest in the order that best suited their conveni- 
ence; but, on nearing the village, a procession was 
formed. There walked first the servants of the house- 
hold, two and two, each one carrying the emblem of 
his office, then came dignified members of the bishop's 
staft" riding on horses ; the steward, carrying a 
large key, symbolical of his stewardship ; the leech, 
holding in his hand what would now be called a 
barber's pole; monks with inkhorns at their side; 
retainers armed with spears and bows ; and, last of 
all, the bishop himself, carried on the shoulders of 
eight men. A long way in the rear were a number 
of packhorses, laden with all sorts of good things for 
the use and enjoyment of the travellers on their 

Down the valley the proud cortege progressed with 
stately step and manifest importance, while the poor 
people stood on the roads with gaping mouths and 
wondering eyes. On their way to the abbey they 
passed the church, the sight of which sent a shudder 
through the bishop's frame, reminding him, as it did, 
of the incidents of his previous visit to the place. At 
last they reached the abbey, and in the courtyard 
found the abbot, surrounded by his monks and all the 
subordinate members of his household, standing to 
receive the bishop with due ceremony. The bishop 
descended from the elevated seat on which he rode, 
and was embraced by the abbot. After exchanging 
sundry compliments, they passed into the abbey to 
partake of refreshments. 


Three days passed in ceremonies and entertain- 
ments, at the end of which they fell to business, and 
the coveted land was legally transferred to the abbot 
and his successors for ever. 

The abbot directed his steward to count the money 
in the presence of the bishop. 300, in good gold, 
was counted out and tied up in sundry bags, which 
were forthwith transferred to the bishop's travelling- 
case. Another day wa5 spent convivially, on which 
occasion Baron de Younglove was invited to meet the 
bishop, and then the bishop made preparations to 

These preliminaries occupied another day. Flesh- 
meat had to be obtained, cooked, and packed on the 
horses, for consumption on the way home. Good 
bread had to be baked, and wine and ale delivered 
in casks. While the masters had been exchanging 
civilities, the servants had also been fraternising ; and 
the respective cooks of the two establishments had so 
far advanced in favour with each other, as to barter 
sundry recipes. One consequence of this was, that 
the provisions furnished for the bishop's use on his 
return journey were prepared with more than usual 
care, and were more than usually good. At length 
the day of parting came, and, while farewells were 
being interchanged, Robin was preparing a reception 
for the bishop, of which that exalted personage was 
little aware. 

The fullest information of all that had been going 
on at the abbey was carried to Robin by his friends 
in the village. He summoned his men from the 


bordering villages to meet him in the forest, where 
they were fully instructed what course they were to 

Robin -and six of his men dressed themselves like 
shepherds, and repaired to that part of the forest 
through which the bishop was expected to pass. In 
several other directions men were posted to observe 
which way the bishop entered the forest, and report 

Robin set his companions to kindle a fire in the 
roadway, while he shot a fat buck. A haunch was 
then severed, spitted, and fixed over a fire to roast. 
While this was going on, a scout arrived with the in- 
telligence that the bishop was advancing by the road 
that had been anticipated, and would be at the spot 
where Robin was in the course of two hours. Robin 
immediately gave orders for the concentration of his 
men in that neighbourhood, and directed that on the 
sound of his horn they should come running from 
four different points, so as to enclose the bishop and 
his men on all sides. 

This was quietly arranged by Will, Alan, Friar 
Tuck, and Little John, who brought their men up, 
and secreted them amongst the trees to await the 

Onward came the bishop and his party, discoursing 
merrily on the entertainment they had received at 
the hands of Abbot Scaregrace. When they were yet 
a quarter of a mile away from Robin's temporary 
head-quarters, the bishop's cook scented the air, and 
declared that he smelt roast venison. The bishop 


ordered an immediate halt, but no one save the cook 
could distinguish the smell. After they had proceeded 
some distance further, however, the odour became 
stronger, and several of the household corroborated 
the cook's statement. At length the bishop was con- 
vinced by his ov/n nose, and, with a sharpened appe- 
tite, he ordered the whole party to press forward. 

" If," said the bishop, " it is as I suspect, we shall 
find some of those forest rovers that infest these 
parts perchance it may be Robin Hood himself 
roasting some venison ; but we'll disappoint them of 
their dinner, save our own victuals, and carry the 
rogues prisoners to Nottingham." 

Without a word being spoken, they quickened their 
pace until they came in sight of Robin and the six 
men he had disguised, tending the fire and the veni- 
son. The shepherds pretended not to see the bishop, 
but kept their backs towards him until he was close 
upon them. They then started up, and made as 
though they would have gone off into the forest ; but 
were prevented from doing so by several of the 
bishop's servants, whom they allowed to get before 
them and cut off their retreat. 

"Ho, ho!" exclaimed the bishop, when the men 
were brought back, " I Ve caught you nicely." 

To which Robin replied, " Ha, ha ! my dear 
bishop, don't be too sure of that." 

" Dost thou treat me with scorn ?" the bishop said ; 
"verily I'll cut thy ears off, and hang thee after- 
wards. But answer me, sirrah! what do you mean 
by roasting the king's venison here?" 


" We mean to eat it, if you '11 let us," Robin re- 

" Saucy knave!" exclaimed the bishop, "this will 
be the last of the king's deer that you shoot." 

Then turning to the other prisoners, he said, " You 
fellows have a monster roast, methinks, for so small a 

" May it please your grace," said Robin, rt we ex- 
pected you to dine with us; and knowing you and 
your train had good appetites, we made ready ac- 

"Your dinner, knave," said the bishop angrily, 
" you shall eat in Nottingham Jail." 

"Nay, pardon, pardon!" Robin exclaimed, falling 
upon his knees, an example followed by his com- 

"No pardon," the bishop replied; " therefore pre- 
pare to come with me." 

" Not I," said Robin, springing up as he spoke, and 
setting his back against a tree. 

"Bind that villain!" the bishop shouted; but be- 
fore his men could get a rope from off the pack-horse, 
Robin had blown a loud blast upon his horn. 

There was an acknowledging shout heard in the 
forest, followed by a noise amongst the trees and 
brushwood ; and in a few minutes the bishop and his 
whole train found themselves surrounded by men, all 
dressed alike in Lincoln green, and carrying bows in 
their hands. In the surprise this created, Robin and 
his six fellows threw off their shepherds' dress, and 
appeared in costume similar to the others. 


" Do not let one escape," Robin called out ; " these 
are my friends, who are going to dine with me to- 

Little John advanced to Robin, and, making a 
bow, asked him whether they should bind the bishop 
and his train. 

" Bind them !" responded Robin ; " why, this proud 
bishop says that, having caught us in the very act, 
we shall have no pardon, but that he will carry us all 
to Nottingham." 

"Cut off his head!" Little John replied; "let us 
not have any bishop lording over us." 

" Oh, pardon, pardon !" the bishop cried, descend- 
ing from his horse, and advancing towards Robin; 
" grant me pardon, I pray thee ; for had I known 
thou hadst been here, I would gladly have gone some 
other way." 

"But thou couldst not have escaped me," Robin 
rejoined, "for my men were watching every move- 
ment of yours. I have a long reckoning to make 
with you, on account of a broken vow which you 
took in Dale Church, at a wedding that you may 
perhaps remember ; and some further claims in 
respect of a certain special licence to marry given to 
Baron de Younglove ; besides a slight reckoning for 
an absolution granted to the baron from observing 
his vow." 

" Nay then, if thou judgest thus, I am lost and 
undone," the bishop exclaimed. 

While Robin was conversing with the bishop, the 
members of his train stood in a crowd together, 


frightened almost out of their wits at the appearance 
of Robin's men, an account of whose deeds, with 
many exaggerations, had been told them at Dale 

Robin ordered the bishop and his men to follow 
him into the forest. Four of them were ordered to 
carry the spit on which the venison was roasting ; 
and Robin's men drove the remainder before them. 
The packhorses were taken in charge by some of 
the rovers. 

They all proceeded some distance, until they came 
upon the Glade, where the baron was entertained, and 
there they came upon the preparations for a feast. 

Robin introduced the bishop to Marian and Ellen, 
who welcomed him right warmly, telling him that 
they had been waiting for him to come and dine for 
more than an hour. 

The bishop found, to his surprise, that there was 
an abundance of good cheer, and no lack even of 
wine. His appetite, however, had been considerably 
diminished by the reminders that Robin had given 
him of former delinquencies. When all was ready, 
Robin called upon Friar Tuck to say grace. Up 
rose that good man, and gave it in terms somewhat 
similar to those used at the baron's visit, " What we 
are about to receive, the Bishop of Hereford pays for. 
So mote it be. Amen." 

The bishop, thinking it prudent to join in the 
humour, laughed at the friar's irreverence, as he 
called it, while the infection spread amongst the 
members of his train, till general laughter ensued, 


The bishop seemed to regard the sentiment of the 
grace as a token of partial forgiveness, but cast an 
uneasy glance at the packhorse that carried his 
travelling-case. His followers ate and drank heartily, 
seemingly little concerned about their master's 

After the meal had been despatched, Robin 
mounted one of the horses, and made the bishop 
stand before him, while he recounted to all present 
how the bishop had broken faith with him. 

" Master," said Little John, " hadn't we better 
settle the reckoning before we hang his reverence ?" 

A shout from Robin's men signified their assent. 
Will laid a cloak upon the ground, while Little John 
unbound the bishop's valise, and, cutting it open with 
his sword, emptied the money on the cloak. The 
whole of Robin's band sent up a loud shout on 
seeing the glittering heap; and, by the twinkle in 
Robin's eyes, the bishop saw that his life would yet 
be spared. 

" Since the bishop is so kind as to give us this gold 
to pay the reckoning with, shall we in return spare 
him his life, notwithstanding it has been justly for- 
feited ?" asked Robin. 

A loud " Ay, ay," was the answer. 

The bishop signified his ready assent to purchase 
his life on these terms. 

Robin, however, was not willing to let him off 
without some punishment, so he declared that the 
bishop should give them a specimen of his dancing 
before he was allowed to depart. 


Alan's harp being produced, the . bishop was 
required to dance a solo. Up to this point some of 
his people had looked on what was passing around 
in silence, but when they actually saw their master 
begin to caper at the sound of Alan's harp, they lost 
all control of themselves, and laughed heartily. The 
steward and leech, thinking the bishop would ex- 
pect some degree, of decorum on their part, tried to 
keep themselves in check, by thrusting into their 
mouths, the one his key, and the other his coloured 
rod ; but all to no effect, the laughter would come, 
and came accordingly. The bishop capered away as 
well as he was able, but catching his boot in his 
gown two or three times, Robin bade him fasten his 
gown in his waist-belt, or he would take it from him 
altogether. The bishop, obedient as a child, began 
to tuck up his gown as desired in his belt, continuing 
to dance all the while. He wore long riding-boots, 
which caused considerable amusement amongst 
Robin's men, as they had not seen the like before. 

After dancing for about half an hour, Robin 
ordered the harper to cease, and the bishop fell 
exhausted on the ground. Robin brought some cold 
water, which he applied to the bishop's mouth, and 
he soon came round again. Looking Robin full in 
the face, he said, 

" Thou mayst shoot all the deer in Sherwood 
Forest, for what I care ; and if thou dost ever catch 
me in the future interfering with thee or thy men, 
I '11 give thee leave to hang me." 



"That's a bargain," Robin exclaimed, "and all 
present are witnesses to it." 

"Agreed upon," the bishop said. 

The bishop and his train did not wait to be told 
twice to go ; but, on Robin giving them leave, 
hum' ed off as fast as they could. 


Robin's Encounter with David of Doncaster The Shooting Match al 
Nottingham Robin carries off the Prize The Sheriff's Stratagem 
Capture of a notable Prisoner. 

J1UMMER and winter passed in quick suc- 
cession, and still Robin Hood, with a band 
of men slowly increasing, lived at his house 
in Greenwood Glade. In the villages bor- 
dering on the forest, his scouts found the greatest 
difficulty in restraining the numbers who were ever 
ready to volunteer their services in any expedition 
that was afoot. The spirit of adventure was so strong 
within them, and the desire to have a fling at a Nor- 
mai^ baron or bishop irrepressible. Besides this, no 
onPthat had served Robin came away empty-handed. 
In the winter-time there was but little opportunity for 
adventure ; no wealthy barons or bishops ever under- 
took a journey then, and so the forest rovers had to 
seek amusement at home. There was, however, always 
something to be done. 


In the winter of 1184-5, Robin and his men erected 
a second house, equal in dimensions to the first, and 
fortified it in the strongest possible manner. As the 
greater number of Robin's adventures happened in 
the spring, summer, and autumn months, there will 
be very little or nothing of interest to record of the 

The spring of 1185 set in unusually soon, and the 
great forest trees put forth their leaves very early. 
May-day was regarded as the opening day of the 
season, after which they might expect to meet tra- 
vellers in the forest. 

Before the expiration of April however, on one sun- 
shiny day, Robin, Little John, and Alan started out, 
thinking they might perhaps meet with some variation 
to the monotony of the last few months. Robin vowed 
that his limbs were stiff for want of a real bout with a 
stranger, and declared that, if he had to go into Nott- 
ingham, he would not return without having ex- 
changed blows with some one. He little thought, 
when he said this, that he would have such a tussle 
that day as he had never had before. 

Forth the three went into the forest, amongst the 
flowers that scented the air with their fragrance, as if 
in gratitude to the sun for having called them so early 
that spring into existence. Through glades, bftfde 
gentle rivulets, up hill-sides they went, until they 
came to the great high-road that ran through the very 
heart of the forest to Nottingham. 

As they walked, they told droll stories of adventures 
in former years. At length they heard, in the dis- 


tance, a voice singing, and immediately Little John 
and Alan were ordered to conceal themselves, and 
Robin paced slowly along the road, awaiting the 

He came in sight, still chanting his song, and 
swinging about his head a long oaken staff he had in 
his hand, as if beating time to his tune ; but on seeing 
Robin in the distance, he ceased his singing, and when 
he came up to him, he besought charity. He was 
dressed in the garb of a beggar, wore a long gray 
cloak, which was torn in many places, and had several 
empty bags hanging round his person. 

Robin, in reply to his request, told him he had no 
money for idlers, that men like him, who were lusty 
and begged their bread, ought to be beaten by every 
person from whom they asked alms. At the same 
time, Robin twisted about the oak staff which he 
carried, as though he was desirous of putting his theory 
into practice. 

The beggar looked hard at Robin, on receiving so 
curt an answer, and boldly invited him at once to try 
his hand at what he had suggested. 

Robin, nothing loath, signified his readiness to do 
so, and both men immediately prepared for the con- 
test. Robin threw off his cap and doublet of green, 
ancl the beggar his bags and his gown. 

Then, with staves in hand, they approached and 
stood face to face with each other. 

" Play!" exclaimed the beggar. And forthwith 
Robin threw himself into position, and struck out with 
his staff. He was, however, at a disadvantage with 


the beggar, and received a hearty cut over his head 
to begin with. Again and again the beggar repeated 
his doses, and bestowed three blows on Robin to one 
in exchange ; and the beggar's blows were given with 
such hearty effect as to draw blood. At length Robin, 
seeing that he was no match for his antagonist, cried 
" Quarter," and threw down his staff. 

Up rose Little John and Alan from the place of 
their concealment, whence they had seen the battle, 
and the beggar stared to see two more men dressed 
like his opponent. 

" Never fear," Robin exclaimed ; " my fellows will 
never harm such a brave fellow as thou art." 

" Master," said the beggar, looking hard at Robin, 
* I begin to suspect that thou art Robin Hood." 

"Thou art right," Robin replied; "and if thou wilt 
join my band, thou shalt have good suits of Lincoln 
green, plenty of good cheer, share and share of gold ; 
and we will teach thee as much cunning with the bow 
as thou hast with the quarterstaff." 

" Hast thou forgotten me ?" said Little John; " me- 
thinks a good suit hast changed me mightily, if thou 
dost not remember the strokes thou once gavest at 
Doncaster to Little John." 

" Nay, verily," exclaimed the beggar; "but art thou 
yea, thy size declarest thou art the very same 
with whom I fought at Doncaster ? 'Twas well my 
blows were good," he continued ; " but they were poor 
acknowledgments of the back fall thou once gavest 
me at the fair." 

" Ah, ah, ah !" roared Little John. 


"I'll join you, good master," the beggar said, "if 
thou'lt forgive the blows I've given thee; but had I 
only known thy name, thou shouldst never have said 
David of Doncaster ever struck Robin Hood." 

" 'Twas my fault," Robin said, " and I hope it will 
not be the last bout I have with thee ; but sloth hath 
stiffened my joints rarely." 

" I hope," the beggar remarked, " that thy skill in 
shooting is not impaired, or else thou wilt lose a noble 
prize that the Sheriff of Nottingham has offered for 
the best shot. I should be sorry to hear that Robin 
Hood had been beaten by any man with the bow." 

" What is this same prize of which thou speakest ?" 
Robin asked. 

"An arrow of silver, with a golden head." 

" That arrow shall be mine, or I vow I '11 never shoot 

Little John held up his hand in solemn protestation 
against Robin's vow. 

" It is too, too rash," he said. 

" Nay," quoth Robin ; " I 'm as safe in Nottingham 
now as in Greenwood Glade, and would go there 
alone any day." 

"Thou art too hasty," Alan said seriously; "were 
we to lose thee, we should all be scattered." 

" I shall survive all of you, I fear," Robin replied ; 
" but enough of these idle fears ; let us return and 
make out some plan to carry off this arrow ; but it 
shall be fairly won, ye mark." 

They forthwith retraced their steps through the 
forest, David of Doncaster accompanying them. He 


was introduced to the rest of the band as a brave 
hand with a quarterstafT. 

Said Marian, when Robin threw himself down to 
have the blood -stains washed from his head, " I 
wish discretion had been knocked into thy pate ; for 
thou art ever thrusting thyself forward to get blows, 
and thy fellows complain that thou wilt have all and 
not let them share." 

Quoth Robin, " If any one complains, I '11 do my 
heartiest to give him a few of the surplus blows I got 

" Nay, nay," Marian exclaimed, in softest accents ; 
" but thou dost not care for me, when thou shewest 
such an anxiety to take blows from everybody." 

" Thou hast forgotten," Robin replied, " that I ran 
most danger of all in thy company at Gamewell Halt 
A few odd blows at a venture from a single man are 
naught. But dost thou doubt I love thee?" 

Marian well, it is not of very much importance 
what Marian both said and did ; suffice it to say, 
that Robin's query was answered in a way that was 
perfectly satisfactory to him. 

In talking over the coming match, David informed 
Robin that it was fixed to take place in a fortnight. 

Robin's household friends were all most unwilling 
that he should go alone, and several proposed to 
accompany him in case of danger. This he at first 
refused ; but some of his scouts from Nottingham 
brought him word that the shooting match was for no 
other purpose than to take him prisoner, and warned 
him not to come. To be present Robin was deter- 


mined, and he reluctantly consented to allow a number 
of his men to accompany him. 

The information about the match, carried to Robin 
from Nottingham, was, indeed, the true version of the 

The sheriff had been puzzling his brains for a long 
time how he should capture his obnoxious enemy ; 
and after mature deliberation, came to the conclusion 
that, if he ever succeeded in taking him, it would only 
be by stratagem. Accordingly, he gave out that he 
would hold the grand shooting match, of which men- 
tion has been made. 

In the villages for many miles round, he caused the 
match to be proclaimed ; and this had the effect of 
bringing together a far greater number of archers and 
spectators than the sheriff had anticipated. The arrow 
was hung out of one of the sheriff's front windows 
for several days before the match. 

As the day drew nigh, the sheriff chose five men, to 
whom he had confided the secret purpose he had in view. 
These five chose ten men apiece, to assist them in the 
work they had in hand. The night before the affair was 
to come off, these men took quiet possession of two 
houses near the spot where the butts were erected. 

At length the morning came, and the interest 
shewn in the contest was evidenced by the numbers 
that poured into the town from the country. The 
inhabitants of both quarters of the town also turned 
out ; and the great square where the contest was to 
take place was crowded with people. 

When the sheriff arrived there, he found several 


thousand men, women, and children assembled to- 
gether. There were nearly one hundred men con- 
gregated together, with bows in their hands and 
quivers at their backs, ready to take part in the day's 

The sheriff, in ranging these in line, scanned their 
faces narrowly, but could not find one answering his 
remembrance of Robin. The majority of the men 
wore the dress of peasants a loose-skirted blouse, 
fastened with a belt round the waist. Others were 
foresters ; and these there was not much difficulty in 
seeing were Normans. 

At length the shooting commenced, and the sheriff 
gravely doubted whether Robin was among the 
number. As each archer shot, the sheriff examined 
his features ; and the majority had each shot once, 
without anything happening that gave the sheriff the 
slightest clue to what he was so anxious to know. 

One of the few remaining, whose arrow struck the 
centre of the butt, exclaimed, " Well done, Robin !" 
not loud, but in an undertone, as though he was 
thinking aloud. The sheriff's suspicions were imme- 
diately aroused ; he walked in front of the men, and 
stared the archer in the face. The man appeared 
uneasy, and his face fell under the searching glance of 
the sheriff. There was evidently something wrong 
about the man. He wore the dress of a Norman 
labourer, and that fact seemed to confirm the sheriff 
in his suspicion. In his cap was a raven's feather. 
At length all the archers had shot once, and the man 
who wore the raven's feather was the best shot. 


A number of the archers fell out after the first 
round, and immediately the shooting recommenced. 
This time the man with the raven's feather shot badly; 
he was evidently unnerved. As he retired, one, who 
wore the dress of a Norman, whispered something in 
his ear, and the sheriff, who was on the alert, heard 
him reply, " I shall lose it now purposely, or else he '11 
find me out." 

The sheriff was now confirmed in his suspicions. 
This man, who had so cleverly disguised himself in 
the garb of a Norman, could be no other than Robin 

Immediately he sent a messenger to the houses 
where his men were posted, to prepare to come as 
soon as the people began to shout loudly; "And 
then," said the sheriff, " let them seize the man who 
wears the raven's feather in his cap." 

Meanwhile the match proceeded. A third and a 
fourth round had been fired ; the suspected outlaw 
still kept his place amongst the best shots ; but he 
seemed to be shooting purposely somewhat wide of 
the mark. 

The excitement in the crowd of spectators was in- 
creasing fast. There were only four archers shooting 
now. One wore a gray goose-quill in his cap ; the 
second, a peacock's feather; the third, a red cock's 
feather; and the fourth, the raven's feather. Loud 
shouts were raised by the people, as they backed their 
favourites. " Now for the goose-quill !" " My belt on 
the peacock's feather!" " Black feather's the man!" 
"The red, the red, he's won i" 


This was shouted, as a man who wore the red 
feather, the last of the four, sent an arrow into the 
very heart of the target. The black feather was 
beaten by half the length of an arrow. No time was 
to be lost ; the sheriff, amid loud cheers from all as- 
sembled, handed the much coveted arrow to the man 
who wore the red feather. These loud shouts was 
the signal agreed upon between the sheriff and his 
concealed men. 

To the astonishment of many, the doors of two 
houses on opposite sides of the street were thrown 
open, and a body of men, armed with short swords, 
ran out. The people screamed as the men, in forcing 
their way through the crowd, beat them savagely 
with the flat of the sword on their heads and shoulders. 
Through the crowd they forced themselves, with con- 
siderable difficulty, to where the archers stood. The 
man who wore the red feather, on receiving the prize, 
had been hoisted on to the shoulders of some stout 
friends in the crowd, who were on the point of carry- 
ing him through the streets in triumph when the 
tumult began. 

As though in expectation of an assault being made 
upon him, he was seen to leap down lightly from oft 
the shoulders of his friends, who immediately made a 
circle round him, and, drawing short swords from 
beneath their dresses, they commenced working their 
way through the crowd. This was comparatively an 
easy matter, because they made off in the direction in 
which the crowd Xvas running. There were shouts 
amongst the people for the sheriff, but he was no- 


where to be seen, having secreted himself in a house 
as soon as the tumult began. 

The men who had been posted in the houses, on 
receiving the sheriff's message, had peeped out of the 
corners of the windows, and through chinks in the 
doors, to see the man whom the sheriff indicated. 
They watched the sheriff's messenger return from 
communicating his directions to them, and post him- 
self, as agreed upon, behind the supposed outlaw, 
whose raven feather was a conspicuous object. The 
moment that the prize was awarded, the black feather, 
or raven, as we shall call him, thrust himself into 
the crowd, as though he would have made off ; but was 
seized by the sheriff's messenger with more pluck 
than discretion, for the raven turned quickly round 
and struck him a heavy blow in the face. 

There was raised the cry of " A fight ! a fight !" and 
a circle was instantly formed, in the centre of which 
the two men stood face to face, unable to stir. At 
this moment it was that the sherifFs men burst out of 
the houses in which they had been concealed, and com- 
menced fighting their way through the crowd. The 
utmost confusion prevailed. 

The people, unable to comprehend the attack from 
three separate quarters, for red cock's seemed almost 
like an attack, did what they always do under the 
influence of terror made a great uproar. Women 
screamed, and the men shouted. Fierce blows were 
given ; and people thrown down, trampled upon, and 
hurt very seriously. Above the shouting and scream- 
ing of the terrified people, was heard the clash of 


swords. Some in the throng, not knowing what was 
the matter, had drawn their swords and opposed 
themselves to the furious onslaught made by the 
sheriff's two forces as they pushed into the very 
thickest of the throng. 

Round about the two combatants, who stood with 
fists squared at each other, pressed the people, anxious 
to escape the blows of the Norman swords. The 
terror and confusion that was created contributed 
to effect the sheriff's purpose. One column of men 
reached the circle that still swayed about, with the 
black feather and his opponent in the centre. The 
next moment they laid hold of black feather with 
loud shouts. 

The man was evidently astonished at being so un- 
ceremoniously seized. He struggled fiercely to escape, 
but was overpowered by numbers. He then shouted, 
at the top of his voice, " Foresters, to the rescue, 
rescue !" a loud shout was the response, and then, from 
amongst the crowd that still thronged the place, there 
were twenty swords raised and brandished in the air. 

At this time the second force belonging to the 
sheriff joined the first. They immediately moved 
forward in the direction of the jail, but found them- 
selves suddenly opposed from an unexpected quar- 
ter. To the rallying cry of "Rescue! rescue!" the 
twenty men, armed with swords, threw themselves 
against the sheriff's men. 

Norman was opposed to Norman. Swords were 
used with fatal effect, and men on both sides fell 
wounded to the ground. 


In the course of this fresh contest, the unarmed 
spectators of the shooting match managed to get 
clear off, and the open street was now occupied 
solely by the sheriffs men, with their prisoner, and 
the foresters who were attempting his rescue. The 
people watched the affray from the doorways and 
windows of the houses, perplexed beyond measure at 
what was going on. 

The contest waged for more than an hour; and 
many of the men, bleeding from wounds they had 
received, staggered to the nearest homes and begged 
shelter, a request which was in no instance refused 
by the kind-hearted Saxons. 

At length the main body of the sheriff's men, who 
had kept well together, managed to shake off the 
friends of their prisoner, and they proceeded along the 
street to the jail, where they finally lodged the un- 
fortunate raven. A few of their number were left, 
keeping the foresters in check ; and as soon as the 
chief prisoner was safe, the men returned, and, with 
the assistance of their comrades, six more were ulti- 
mately secured. 

As soon as the fighting was over, a great crowd 
assembled about the jail, with a view to find out 
what had been the cause of the tumult, and who the 
prisoners were that had been taken. 

After lodging their additional prisoners in the jail, 
the sheriff's men formed in procession, and walked 
up the streets to the sheriff's residence, with loud 
shouts, waving their swords over their heads, as 
though they had achieved a great victory. 


There were left of their number no fewer than three 
dead in the streets, while four of their opponents had 
been slain. Besides these, a large number, who had 
been wounded, were lodged in the Saxons' houses ; 
so that the men had some reason to think proudly of 
the contest in which they had been engaged, and the 
notable prisoner they had taken. 

The sheriff was very serious, when they told him 
the result of the contest ; nevertheless, he was con- 
siderably elated at the success that had attended his 

" The king shall know of your deeds," he said, " for 
you have rid the whole country of a scourge. You 
shall have ten shillings apiece from me, and be made 
freemen of the town. As for Robin Hood, I '11 hang 
him to-morrow morning before his men can reach 
the town. The other prisoners may get off with the 
loss of their ears." 

" The black feather was furious when he saw him- 
self surrounded," the man said who had acted as 
the sheriff's messenger to those in concealment. 

"Ah, ah, ah !" laughed those who had managed to 
get off without wounds. The sheriff paid them the 
amount agreed upon for their service, and they re- 
mained talking over the incidents of the day's adven- 

Meanwhile we shall follow the adventures of the 
red feather and his party. They were very much 
alarmed at first, on seeing two formidable bodies of 
armed men issuing out of the houses. They suc- 
ceeded, however, in getting clear of the crowd; 


and saw, as they fled along the streets, that the 
armed men remained in the centre of the throng, and 
that some serious fighting was going on. 

At length, in small parties, they got clear of the 
town, and joined each other in the forest. The man 
who had worn the red feather was no other than 
Robin Hood, who had carried out his resolution, and, 
together with a number of his men, attended the 
shooting. When they all met in the forest, the 
extraordinary attack made upon the people became 
the subject of their conversation ; but no one could 
suggest the probable meaning of the affray. 

Said Robin, "My only wish is now to let the 
sheriff know that I have got his prize, but how to 
accomplish this is a difficult question." 

No one volunteered to carry a message of the kind 
for Robin, nor would he have allowed it, because it 
would only have been sending the messenger to the 

At length Alan suggested that a letter should be 
written, and fastened to an arrow. This met with 
the approbation of all. Alan was the only one who 
could write, and, fortunately, he had with him mate- 
rials sufficient to carry out his own proposition. So 
he wrote on the spare leaf of an old missal these 
words: "Your gold and silver arrow is now in the 
quiver of Robin Hood, the archer with the red 
feather." This was folded up, and on the outside 
was written, " To the Sheriff." 

This Robin fastened to the head of one of his 


arrows, and returning to the walls of Nottingham, he 
shot the arrow into the town. 

At this very moment the sheriff, accompanied by 
his men, was on his way to the jail, and while pass- 
ing the spot where the affray commenced, an arrow, 
with something tied to the head, fell at his feet. He 
started as though he had been shot. One of his men 
picked the weapon up; the point was blunted, and 
fastened to the head was a parchment leaf, with some 
writing on it. There was no one in all the company 
present who could make out what was written. 

The sheriff sent a messenger to the nearest monas- 
tic establishment for a learned monk. On his arrival, 
he read the writing aloud, to the intense surprise of 
all present. 

Some laughed, and said it was only a trick to save 
the prisoner's life, and recommended the sheriff to 
hang the chief prisoner forthwith, for fear of some 
attempt at rescue being made. 

The sheriff, however, had his own private reasons 
for suspecting that, after all, some inexplicable 
blunder had again been made, and that his enemy 
had escaped him. 

Who could the prisoner be ? This question could 
only be solved at the jail. 

On arriving there, they found men at work erect- 
ing a gallows directly in front of the jail door. On 
seeing his visitor, the jailer threw open the door to 
admit him. 

The prisoners were all confined in separate cells, 


that they might the more easily be got at for punish- 

The sheriff spoke to each as he passed them, say- 
ing, in an encouraging tone of voice, that they would 
never more roam the forest, committing such depre- 
dations as they had upon the king's deer. Some of 
the men replied by threatening the vengeance of the 
king upon the sheriff and all connected with him for 
what he had done. At last, in the innermost cell, the 
sheriff found the prisoner for whom so many lives 
had been lost that day. The door grated harshly on 
its old-fashioned hinges, as it was thrown open. 

The prisoner was pacing the floor, evidently much 
excited ; but, on hearing the door opening, he 
stopped, and gazed upon his visitors. 

The sheriff, on seeing his prisoner, started back 
with amazement, exclaiming, " Gruff, as I 'm a sin- 

The man addressed replied, " Gammer, you Ve 
treated me badly, and the king shall know." 

The prisoner was indeed no other than Gruff, who, 
anxious to surprise the sheriff with his skill in using 
the bow, had tried to hide his face from recognition, 
and so had thus excited the suspicions that he was 
none other than the renowned Robin Hood 


Little John and the Brothers Cobble go in search of an Adventure 
Marian, Ellen, and the Friar play them a Trick Little John and 
his Companions are. twice beaten. 

IMONGST those left behind in the forest 
with Marian and Ellen, were the three 
brothers, Jerry, Jaunty, and Jolly Cobble, 
Little John, and Friar Tuck. 
After Robin and his party had left, the three bro- 
thers and Little John made it up amongst themselves 
to go into the forest in search of an adventure on their 
own account. The friar was asked to accompany 
them ; but Marian objected to his leaving, as she ob- 
served that they wanted him at home to say grace at 
dinner. The friar was too much of a lady's-man to 
act contrary to her wishes, and so he remained behind. 
As soon as the others had gone, Marian called Ellen 
and the friar. 

" I've a scheme in my head," she said, "to try the 
mettle of these four men, and I want you two to help 


me in it. First, we must stain our cheeks, and then 
disguise ourselves like beggars; and while we are 
walking in the forest, I'll tell you what I propose 

Ellen readily consented to join Marian, and the 
friar expressed his perfect willingness to accompany 
them, to protect them from harm; because he declared 
that two women could not keep out of harm's way 
unless they were restrained by the presence of one 
man at least. 

Ellen said that, whatever mischief they got into, 
they would get themselves out of, and would share 
between them all the blows that befell the party, with- 
out asking him to take any. 

The friar vowed that, in the way of blows, he could 
bear as much as any single member of Robin's com- 
pany ; the only punishment he very seriously objected 
to was fasting, which was an invention of the evil one, 
he believed, to plague honest souls. 

They laughed heartily at the friar's candid confes- 

Marian promised him that there should be no fast- 
ing for him that day, though there might be some 

Then they stained their cheeks, until they were as 
brown as a hazel-nut, and over their clothes they put 
on beggar's tattered garbs. Round their necks they 
each strung three bags, two of which were empty, and 
the third filled with meal. 

The friar protested against carrying so many empty 
bags, and persuaded Marian to fill two with provisions 


for the day, while he carried a couple of bottles of 
wine in each of his two bags, and filled the third with 

Thus they carried amongst them each a bag of 
meal, Marian and Ellen two bags of provisions, and 
the friar four bottles of wine. Slouched hats con- 
cealed half their features, and, with stout oaken staves 
in their hands, they sallied forth with much merry 
laughter to meet with the four who had preceded 
them in search of an adventure. 

There was a pleasant breeze blowing, which played 
among the leaves, and was laden with the scents of 
the flowers. The sweetest and most soothing of all 
music is that of a gentle wind in a warm spring-time 
amongst the fresh leaves of the trees. * 

Through the forest for miles Marian and her com- 
panions wandered over the mossy turf, down slopes 
that were covered with the nodding bluebell, or 
amongst acres of wild geraniums, and that pretty 
flower since called the forget-me-not. Through little 
laughing streams they paddled, scorning the stepping- 
stones, standing in the centre several minutes while 
the water cooled their feet and ankles. Then up the 
sides of some pretty mound, the summit of which, 
covered with beautiful trees, screened them from the 
sun. And again they pursued their way, one moment 
crossing a patch in the sunlight, and presently shaded 
by the trees. Still proceeding, they passed over a 
plain, where the ground gently undulated, like the 
waves of the sea at the coming in of the tide in the 
quiet of a summer evening. Then down other flower- 


spread slopes, smelling sweeter and more refreshing 
than the sweetest of all perfumes extracted by a 
leech's art from the flower itself. There were wild 
deer, too, that they disturbed in their lair, which 
hastily bounded away in fear ; and wild swans, that 
bent their necks with grace, and threatened personal 
violence ; and hares, that started up from the shade of 
the yellow gorse, and were lost to sight in a moment ; 
or a fox, that stole away swiftly with brush erect 
These were the sounds, and scents, and scenes they 
enjoyed as they rambled on in strange disguise, intent 
on having a frolic. 

The brothers Cobble and Little John, having had 
the start of Marian's party, reached the high-road first 
by two hours. They had enjoyed their ramble through 
the forest as much in their way as Marian and her 
friends had in another. Tired out with the walk, how- 
ever, when they reached the high-road they all lay 
down by the side of it and slept. 

While they thus slept, there came up a party of 
beggars on their way to Nottingham. There were 
five of them in all, and they had been amusing each 
other by telling stories, true and exaggerated, of their 
adventures and misadventures. Two of these men 
carried thick wooden legs under their arms, by strap- 
ping which to the knee, and doubling up the limb, 
they counterfeited lameness. They saw with much 
surprise the four men sleeping by the way-side, and 
going near, scanned their figures with the view of get- 
ting some clue to their occupation. 

Seeing nothing near them but thick oaken staves, 


they concluded rightly that they were forest rovers, 
and had come out to levy toll on the travellers. 

With one assent the five men drew the four staves 
from the sides of the sleeping men, and threw them 
into the forest. They then shouted, at the top of their 
voices, " Thieves ! thieves !" which roused the sleepers 
in an instant ; but the moment they started up, they 
were knocked down again by well-aimed blows from 
the oak staves that the beggars carried. 

Over Little John stood two men, as from his size 
they judged he would be the most awkward of the lot 
to deal with. They were wide awake with the first 
blow they received, and instinctively threw out their 
hands to grasp their staves, a movement which drew 
a hearty laugh from the beggars. 

" Who are you ? What are you ? What do you 
want here ?" inquired the spokesman of the beggars, 
one of the two carrying a false leg. 

" We are three poor fellows who have j ust escaped," 
Jerry began, believing that the men standing before 
him formed part of a dream he had been having, in 
which he had been going over again the incidents of 
their escape from the gallows. But Jolly stopped 
his brother with a nudge in his ribs. 

" Why, how say you that you are three, when there 
are four of you ?" pursued the interrogator. " You are 
four dishonest varlets, who prowl about this forest, kill- 
ing the king's deer and robbing the king's subjects." 

He was stopped from saying more by a rapid and 
clever movement executed by Jaunty, opposite whom 
he stood, who, taking advantage of his head being 


turned half from him, seized him suddenly by the 
legs with both arms, and with a sharp jerk gave him 
a back somersault. Before the man could rise, 
Jaunty stood over him with fists clenched, threaten- 
ing punishment with his hands if he stirred. The 
other three took advantage of the diversion created 
in their favour by Jaunty, and succeeded in getting 
upon their legs, but not before they had received 
some severe blows about the head and face. Little 
John, following somewhat the style of attack initiated 
by Jaunty, suddenly threw out one of his legs and 
upset both the beggars who stood over him; and 
before they could rise, he was on his feet, and had 
armed himself with the wooden leg which one of 
them had dropped in falling. 

The two men who had paid undivided attention to 
Little John, very quickly sprang to their legs again, 
but kept a respectful distance from the giant, who 
swung his singular weapon round his head, and in- 
vited both to come on at once. They declined the 
proffered honour, by dodging about out of his reach, 
so that Little John, though armed, was unable to 
assist at that moment any of his companions. 

The three brothers had managed to get on their 
legs, and, in a scuffle which followed, Jaunty was 
thrown on the top of his man, upon which they 
grasped each other round the necks with one hand, 
and pommelled away at each other with the remain- 
ing hand, twisting about, and turning over and over 
each other on the ground. 

Jerry and Jolly attempted to seize their opponents 


and wrestle with them, but before they succeeded 
were very roughly treated by the sticks of their 

Little John bore with considerable patience the 
dodging about of his two opponents for some 
minutes, but seeing that they made no advance, and 
knowing that there was hot work going on near him, 
ultimately made a sudden dash, and chased the two 
beggars for some distance, they running with con- 
siderable agility from him. 

He let the space between them increase, so that 
before they had time to come back, Little John had 
gone round and given the other three beggars such a 
tap, each on the top of the head, as induced them to 
shew symptoms of having had enough of it. 

Nor were the brothers and Little John a whit dis- 
pleased when the beggars ran off as fast as their legs 
could carry them, leaving behind them the two false 
legs in the possession of the enemy. When the 
beggars had gone, Little John, crossing the road, 
found the staves that the beggars had thrown away. 

For some time after they were left alone, the 
brothers and Little John were employed in examin- 
ing the several wounds that they had received. The 
faces of the four were much swollen from the effects 
of the first tap they received on starting up from 
sleep, and subsequent blows, from hard fists as well 
as sticks, had contributed in a very great degree to 
increase the evil effects produced by the first. Their 
faces were swollen to a degree that was almost 
comical in its expression. Little John said there was 



no remedy like cold water for a bruise, so they 
repaired to the nearest brook and bathed their faces 
for some time. Then they determined to make the 
best of their way home. 

While they were yet on the highway, however, 
they discovered three more beggars, as they thought, 
who happened to be Marian and her companions 
Ellen and Friar Tuck. 

"Are these the same again?" inquired Jerry 

" I can't tell," responded Jolly ; " I can't see that 
far, my eye is so badly swollen. What do you say, 
Little John ?" 

After taking a good look, Little John assured 
them that they were not the same beggars. They 
were altogether differently dressed, and seemed to 
have something in the bags they carried about their 

"Then, after all," said Jaunty, "we shall have 
something better than our faces to shew for our day's 

When the three beggars came near enough, Little 
John demanded that they should deliver up at 
once the bags they carried about their necks, and 
any money they might have about their persons. 

The beggars stared hard at the men who thus 
opposed their passage, and at first appeared as 
though they had nothing to say, although they made 
no show of complying with the polite request. 

The real fact was, that the three were so aston- 
ished at the altered appearance of their friends, that 


they were doubtful whether they were the same men 
or not from whom they had parted in the morning. 
The stature of Little John seemed to be the only 
real clue that they had. 

Their astonishment was so unfeigned, that Little 
John repeated his summons a second time before he 
got an answer. 

Then Marian, in an assumed gruff voice, said they 
were at liberty to take what they liked, if they could. 
Hereupon Jerry began to upbraid them with being 
of the same party of beggars who had already used 
them so badly. 

" It would serve you all very right," said he, " if we 
were to break some of your bones for you, in return 
for v/hat your fellows did to us when we were quietly 

" But we are Robin Hood's men," added Jolly, " and 
will take no inferior advantage of you, or harm you 
either, only some toll we must have." 

Whereupon the brothers and Little John, seeing 
that the three beggars still made no sign of com- 
pliance, but kept twisting their staves about in their 
hands, bade them prepare for blows, as they were so 
stubborn and would not pay toll without. 

Friar Tuck immediately called out, at the top of his 
voice, " Hold, I say !" Marian and Ellen trembled for 
fear the friar would be discovered before they had 
carried out their intentions. 

The friar went on to say that they were poor men, 
who had no money at all about them, and nothing 
save a little food in their bags. 


Little John insisted that they should bring out the 
contents of their bags to let them see. 

Marian immediately drew out a skewer from a 
tippet that she wore, and taking this off, spread it on 
the ground. 

First of all, she emptied a bag full of meat and 
bread on it, which the brothers immediately seized, 
shared amongst themselves and Little John, and com- 
menced eating. 

Then a second bag of meat was opened, and the 
third bag, which contained the meal, was also emptied, 
save a good handful which Marian kept in her hand. 

Ellen and her bags followed in due course. 

Then came the friar who threw down two empty 
bags, and poured out the meal from the third. 

"We are poor beggars, all three," said the friar, 
"and have not had a bit of luck all day." 

"Surely/' said Marian, "you will not take ouf 
empty bags from us." 

Little John had stooped and laid hold of them, as 
though he would have picked them up. 

" Nay, you are welcome to them," he said ; " and 
you may thank Robin Hood for getting off with 
whole skins. But, remember and tell your fellows, 
that the next time they see poor men sleeping in the 
forest that they leave them alone, or, by St Christopher, 
we '11 have it out of the bones of all your tribe." 

" Thanks, good master," all three exclaimed, then 
stooping, they pretended that they were going to 
reach their bags, but instead of doing so, they each 
seized two handfuls of meal. 


The four men were on their knees eating. As 
quick as thought the three flung a handful of meal in 
the eyes of the brothers, and the second handful 
they all threw in the face of Little John. 

The meal filled their eyes, completely blinding 
them ; and the pain was so great, that they tumbled 
up against each other and rolled helplessly on the 

Suddenly rising to their feet, Marian and her two 
companions seized the staves and struck the prostrate 
rogues several times on their backs, exclaiming as 
they did so, 

" You '11 rob poor beggars of their meal, will you !" 

Then, at a signal from Marian, all three ran off as 
'aard as they could. 

Over and over rolled the unfortunate brothers and 
Little John, shouting most lustily all the time, and 
throwing out their hands to catch their chastisers, 
they only caught hold of each other. 

At length they got upon their legs; but then 
Marian and her friends were out of sight, and none of 
the four could tell which way they ran. 

" I Ve never had such a bad day's work in my life 
before," Little John said, as he stood rubbing his eyes. 
" Caught asleep and beaten like a knave, now blinded 
with meal and struck by a stripling ; I think I must 
be bewitched." 

" We are all bewitched," said Jerry ; " a raven has 
flown across our path, and we have n't seen it. Oh, 
I 'm as blind as a worm." 

" No one shall ever catch me napping again," said 


Jaunty ; " that fellow's first blow on my head rings 

" For my part/' said Jolly, " I say, let us wash this 
meal out of our eyes, and then go home again as fast 
as we can ; and if I ever go out without Robin Hood, 
may the Sheriff of Nottingham catch me." 

So to the brook they repaired, and, after some 
trouble, succeeded in clearing the meal from their 

Marian, Ellen, and the friar, having got out of the 
way and hearing of the four rogues without much 
trouble, slackened their speed. 

They laughed immoderately at the exploit, and 
the complete success which had attended all their 
plans. But being afraid lest Little John and his 
party should reach home first, and so discover who 
their assailants were, they pushed forward at an in- 
creased rate, and were fortunate enough to reach the 
Glade before their opponents. 

They communicated the result of their expedition 
to those who remained in the Glade, and their story 
caused great merriment 

To add to the fun, Robin and his men returned 
almost immediately after, and to them also the story 
was told. Robin vowed that it was the best sport he 
had ever heard of; and all the band prepared to re- 
ceive Little John and his fellows with much anima- 

When Robin told Marian and the rest how he had 
fared, Marian declared that Robin should never enter 
Nottingham again without her ; and, ultimately, Robin 


promised that she should for the future accompany 
him ; but remain outside the walls, with a party ready 
to assist him upon an emergency arising. 

At length the expected visitors arrived. First 
Jerry Cobble came sauntering in as though nothing 
had happened, and last of all came Little John sing- 

" Hallo !" cried Robin, as Little John appeared, 
" who's been giving you a black eye to-day? surely 
you Ve not been beaten." 

Little John stopped short in his song, and muttered 
something about an accidental blow he'd received from 
a beggar in the forest. 

"Why," said Robin, " you've not been stealing 
meal have you, and been caught in the act ? your 
head is covered with meal." 

" Beshrew the meal ! " Little John exclaimed ; " the 
beggar must have emptied his bag on my head." 

Members of Robin's band who were in the secret 
then came up, and Little John took off his cap and 
began dusting his head, though no meal was there. 

"Where are the Cobbles?" asked Will; "I saw 
them come in just now, where have they disap- 
peared to ? " 

" Why," said Friar Tuck, " I see them yonder, all 
dusting their heads with their caps." 

" Fetch them here," said Robin ; " I can't under- 
stand this." 

Several men went and brought the three brothers 
Cobble before Robin. 

The poor fellows, hearing what had been said to 


Little John, had immediately slunk behind the Green- 
wood-tree and commenced dusting their heads, though 
there was scarcely a grain of meal thereon. When 
brought before Robin, they stared at each other first 
with a rueful countenance, and then at Robin, and 
hung their heads down like thieves. 

"Why," said Robin, after looking at them for a 
moment, " I never saw four men in such a plight 
before. Why, you've all been beaten; Jerry's left 
eye is closed, Jaunty's right eye is as bad, and as for 
Little John, I never saw a man with such a nose in 
my life ! You Ve all been powdered with meal too, 
as though Much, here, had been dusting you." 

" Nay," quoth Much ; " I Ve dusted them not." 

" I guess how the horse goes," said Marian. " 'Tis 
thus, they Ve all been making love to some miller's 
daughter, and she 's powdered them well ; for I swear 
no man would have cast meal on their heads." 

" You are all wrong this time," said Little John to 
Marian ; " 'tis true we have been beaten and powdered 
too, but not by a woman." 

" Nay," replied Ellen ; " I protest a woman hath 
done the most of this powdering, and no man." 

The brothers insisted that Little John was right, 
that it was no woman's work ; and they all vowed that 
they had not seen a woman since they left home in the 

" Marian and Ellen are right," quoth Friar Tuck ; 
" women did the most towards the dusting of these 
men. I swear they did ; for I saw them do it." 

At this Robin, and all who were in the secret, 


could no longer contain themselves, but roared with 

"Oh, shame!" said Robin jestingly, and giving 
Little John a poke in the ribs ; " never rob a poor 
beggar of his victuals again, unless you are sure of 
his meal." 

" And," continued Friar Tuck, " they were not only 
powdered, but beaten by women also." 

" What !" Little John exclaimed. 

" Ay beaten by women ; don't deny it, you 
rogues ; if you do, you lie. No man struck you after 
your heads were dressed with the meal." 

"What !" asked Little John and the three brothers 
in chorus ; "how beaten by no man ?" 

" I repeat, no man struck you after the meal was in 
your eyes," said the friar ; " for I started as soon as I 
had flung my handful at you, and left these two fair 
women to dust your backs a bit." 

All burst out laughing afresh; even Little John 
and the Cobbles were obliged to join, although 
they made such wry faces over it, as greatly to in- 
crease the laughter of the others. 

" I see it all now," quoth Little John ; " there 's no- 
thing like a good beating to take the wit out of a man. 
You three came upon us while our wits were still 
wool-gathering, though I grant that woman's wit will 
outrun a man's at the best of times." 


Robin meets with Sir Richard of the Lea He is entertained in the 
Forest, and borrows 400 The Abbot of St Mary's The 
Knight repays the Abbot his Loan. 

JNE day Robin, with Little John, Much, 
and Scathelock, went rambling through 
the forest. Robin, in no pleasant mood, 
lamented that they had been without a 
visit so long, that he scarcely remembered what a 
bishop was like. Little John maintained that they 
had been remiss of late, that visitors would have 
come in plenty, but that none of them had been out 
to give them the invitation. 

Whereupon Robin said that none save himself 
could bring a visitor in, and hinted at the recent 
adventure that Little John met with when he went 
out with the Cobbles. 

Little John laughed at the allusion, and vowed 
that he would not dine that day until he had brought 
a stranger to Robin. 

Much and Scathelock begged that they might be 


allowed to accompany Little John, to which Robin 
assented, and the three forthwith started on their 
errand, leaving Robin alone in the forest. 

Little John led his friends in the direction of the 
road to Barnsdale, entertaining them with stories of 
his adventures as they walked along. There was no 
proposal made, however, to go to sleep for a time, 
until the expected visitor should arrive. Little John 
had learnt a lesson on that subject, that he was not 
likely very soon to forget. 

They were not kept waiting long, for almost imme- 
diately on reaching the high-road, they saw riding 
towards them one dressed like a knight, but looking 
very disconsolate. 

One foot was in the stirrup, but the other foot 
waved loose ; his hood was drawn down over his eyes, 
and his clothes were most decidedly seedy. The 
horse he rode seemed to partake of the nature of his 
master, for his head hung down, and he walked as he 
liked, from side to side, now and then cropping a 
mouthful of the tempting grass. 

The man did not seem to be aware of the presence 
of the three rovers until Much seized his horse's 
bridle, and Little John at the same moment took off 
his cap, and made a low bow. 

The stranger threw back his hood, and appeared 
much surprised at the sight of the three men. 

" Rise ; don't kneel to me," he said, in a remark- 
ably gentle voice, to Little John. 

Little John, still with one knee bent, replied, "A 
man should do reverence to his master's guest.'* 


" Who is thy master ?" inquired the horseman. 

" Robin Hood," replied Little John. 

" He is a good, brave yeoman," the stranger re- 
plied. " I have often heard well of him ; but what 
can he want with me, seeing we have never met ? you 
are surely mistaken." 

" There is no mistake," said Scathelock ; " he waits 
dinner for you, not far from here." 

" Things at the worst must mend," the stranger 
observed, half aloud. 

All four immediately turned in the direction of 
the place where they left Robin. Little John led the 
horse of the stranger. 

Very little passed between them on their journey ; 
but the stranger was seen to drop tears, as though 
some great grief oppressed him. 

On meeting Robin the stranger raised his hood, 
which was responded to by a very low bow from 

" Welcome, right heartily welcome !" said Robin ; 
" I have waited dinner for thee these three hours." 

" Thy words puzzle me," responded the stranger ; 
" for how thou couldst have been waiting for me, I 
cannot understand." 

" I sent my men into the forest," said Robin, " to 
bring a visitor to dine with me ; and they have 
brought thee, and therefore I say I have been wait- 
ing for thee." 

"To dinner, to dinner!" cried Much; " the friar is 
getting hungry, I wot, before this." 

Still further into the forest they proceeded, Robin 


leading the stranger's horse, but failing to draw him 
into conversation, tears dropping from his eyes con- 

Robin thought he had got a queer visitor at last, 
and one from whom he would not be able to draw 
any great amount of merriment. 

Much concluded in his own mind that the stranger's 
bags, which appeared to be full, would yield a good 
harvest, and attributed the man's tears to the fear 
that he had of losing the contents of the said bags. 

At length they reached a beautiful glade, where 
they found the brothers Cobble, the friar, the ladies, 
and a good many men, busy in making preparations 
for dinner. On seeing Robin enter, they all rose 
very respectfully, and made him a solemn bow. One 
ran to the stranger's horse and held its head, while 
Robin assisted him to alight. Then Robin con- 
ducted him to a stream of water that ran close by, 
and both washed. 

Dinner was now announced by Friar Tuck. The 
spread was one worthy of a king's table. There were 
roast swans, roast pheasants, roast venison, and, as a 
great delicacy, boiled fowl. Within a convenient 
distance from the table was set a barrel of wine, and 
a number of drinking-horns lay near. Robin insisted 
that the stranger should sit between him and Marian. 
When all were seated on the ground, the friar was 
motioned to ask the grace, and accordingly delivered 
himself of the formula he reserved for such occasions, 
and which, though familiar to those generally assem- 
bled, was always new, unexpected, and most unwd- 


come to the guest. What it was is well known to 
the reader, and it produced from their present 
visitor the response, 

" Nay, that can never be, or thou wouldst have a 
sorry meal, I can tell thee." 

" Don't talk about the reckoning yet," said Robin ; 
"time enough for that when dinner is over. Here's 
to thy good health, Sir Stranger." 

So saying, Robin raised a horn of wine to his 
mouth and drained it. 

" Here's a merry life to all," returned the stranger, 
putting to his mouth a horn filled for him by Robin. 

The dinner was found to have been well cooked, 
and the stranger, who seemed to shake off some of his 
melancholy as the feast proceeded, praised the skill of 
the fair hands that had set such a feast before them. 

But Marian and Ellen protested that there was no 
praise due to them ; that the friar had looked to the 
meats, and the cooks too; whereupon several who had 
assisted at the spits shrugged their shoulders at the 
remembrance of certain remonstrances addressed to 
their locks by the reverend head cook, and all the rest 
laughed heartily, many of them having a lively and 
personal recollection of a similar remonstrance. 

At length the dinner was concluded, and the 
stranger declared that he had not tasted such a meal 
for three weeks. 

" If ever I come this way again," said he, " I pledge 
my knightly honour that I'll give ye all as good a 
dinner as ye have given me." 

At this several were uncivil enough to laugh aloud. 


" Nay, Sir Knight," said Robin ; " that is not the 
way exactly that we deal with our visitors ; we give 
them a fair dinner, and have a speedy settlement; 
' short reckonings and long friendships,' we say. Be- 
sides," he added, " there was never yet a time when 
a knight allowed a yeoman to provide his dinner for 

The knight's melancholy seemed to return at the 
words of Robin, and he hung his head upon his 

" My honour," he said, " is all that is left me now 
besides my wife and family, and I protest that there 
is nothing in my bags save ten shillings only." 

" Little John," said Robin, " go and search, without 
offence to the knight, or doubting his word." 

Little John seemed to entertain grave doubts as to 
whether the knight had spoken the truth, for he took 
up a mantle that lay on the ground, and in the sight 
of all spread it on the grass. Then he unbuckled the 
bags, and slowly unrolled them. 

He found a cloak rolled up, and in the midst a 
piece of linen with ten shillings. He dropt the money 
into the mantle with a woeful countenance, as though 
he felt that they had been sold. 

Robin laughed, and said he should never send 
Little John to bring him a visitor again. 

"How is this," quoth Robin to the knight, "that 
thou journeyest without money and without attendants 
in the forest, and art so melancholy, and drop tears as 
thou ridest along? Methinks there is some strange 
marvel about thy case ; and/' he added, in an under- 


tone, " thy clothing, now I look at it, seems marvel- 
lously thin." 

"Ah I" exclaimed the knight, "if thou only knew'st 
my sorrowful state, thou wouldst not marvel much ; 
and wouldst pity me greatly/' 

" Hast thou wasted thy living riotously ? or hast 
thou been an officer in the army ? or a usurer ?" 

" None of these things are the cause of my sorrow," 
the knight replied. " My ancestors have lived in Lea 
Castle, in this forest, for four hundred years, and none 
of them yet wasted the lands that he had. I may be 
disgraced, but yet I hope the day will come when 
God will mend my state." 

Robin pressed him to tell him how matters had 
gone wrong with him, and what was the cause of his 
poverty ; and the knight at length complied with his 

He told them that he had a son twenty years old, 
a brave but fearless lad, who had had the misfortune, 
while engaged in a friendly trial of skill, to kill a 
knight of Lancashire. The friends of the slain man 
had pursued his son with the law, and to save his life 
he had to raise 400. To do this he had mortgaged 
all his lands, his castle, and even his goods, to the 
Abbot of St Mary's. On the fourth morning from 
that day, he was bound to pay the money back, or 
forfeit his land ; and as he had not been able to raise 
the sum, he had been wandering distracted in the for- 
est. When he was met by Little John, he was return- 
ing from the castle of one who had boasted many 
times of his love to the knight, but who had refused 


to lend him anything towards paying off the abbot's 

" Hast thou any sureties ?" said Robin. 

" None," said the knight, " save Peter, Paul, or 

Quoth Robin, " Thou art chaffing now, for whoever 
heard of a saint becoming surety for a sinner. Thou 
must find some other bond, or none of my money 
canst thou have." 

" I have none other, none in the world, save my 
trust in Saint Mary." 

" Thou shalt have the money right willingly," said 
Robin, " if thou makest Mary thy bond." 

Robin, calling Little John to him, directed him to 
count out 400 good count to the knight. 

Little John went to Robin's strong box, and counted 
out the money by scores of pounds, reckoning eight 
score to the hundred. 

He was then directed to measure three yards of 
every sort of cloth they had. The cloth was brought, 
and Little John measured it with his bow, skipping 
three feet in every "yard. 

Said Much, when he saw what Little John did, 
" What devilkin's draper art thou, Little John ? " 

"John can give good measure," said Scathelock, 
" for the cloth cost him naught." 

Little John measured the cloth off, and seeing 
what a heap it made, said Robin must give the knight 
a horse to carry it on. Robin consented, and Little 
John added to the gift a pair of good boots with gilt 


The knight laughed and cried by turns, as he saw 
the cloth measured off, and looked at the heap of gold 
that was afterwards shifted into his bags. 

He was mounted on his horse again, and the second 
horse's bridle given into his hand. 

" Now," said Robin, " when are we to see you 
again ?" 

" By her whose name you have taken as my surety," 
said the knight, " I shall be here again in a twelve- 
month and a day with your good money, and Sir 
Richard of the Lea never broke his word." 

Then away rode the knight through the forest, with 
a heart very much lighter than when he entered it in 
the morning. 

The abbot to whom the knight owed the money 
resided near York, which was four days' journey from 
the forest. There was no time to be lost, therefore, 
because in three days' time the money was due. On 
his way to York, the knight summoned three of 
his men from their farms to accompany him, which 
they did gladly when they knew the nature of his 

The morning of the day arrived on which the money 
that had been borrowed by Sir Richard was to be re- 
paid, or the land forfeited. 

The abbot, whose name was Cantwell, early in 
the morning paced the abbey-yard, with his hands 
behind his back, and head inclined forward. By his 
side walked Prior Endandpoint, a thin, wiry-looking 
man, the very opposite in appearance to the abbot. 

" Prior Endandpoint," said the abbot, " this is the 


day that the knight should redeem his lands, on which 
he borrowed 400 to save the life of his son. 400! 
'twas a large sum! I doubt he will not raise the money, 
and then his lands will be ours." 

"It's full early," said the prior, "to think about 
that, the day is not far gone yet. I had rather lose 
100 of the sum, than be too hard on the knight. He 
may be beyond the sea, fighting for England's rights, 
and suffering cold and hunger. It were a great pity 
to execute the confiscation of his lands in such a case, 
and it would sit hard on my conscience." 

" Thou art a tender-hearted chicken," said the 
abbot, "whining in that way. What care have I 
about the matter, save to benefit our abbey ? Is not 
the law on my side ? Dust and ashes ! am I to be 
bearded by thee continually in this way?" 

The prior, seeing the abbot's wrath, retired. 

From a cellar window near, the high cellarer ha'd 
been listening to the conversation between the abbot 
and the prior ; and, hearing the expressions made use 
of by the prior, shouted out, " The knight is dead or 
hanged, and Mary will have us to spend 400 a year 
more in this place." 

The abbot stared up and then down, when, catch- 
ing sight of the bald head of the speaker, he called 
to him to come out. Forthwith appeared a little 
man, as round as a barrel, with bare pate, shining as 
though it had been polished. 

"The knight's dead," he repeated, on coming up 
to the abbot ; " yon prior is a" 

The abbot held up his finger, and the little fat 


cellarer thrust his thumb into his mouth, as though 
to choke his words. 

It happened that one of the king's justices was 
then on a visit at the abbey, with a number of other 
dignitaries of the land, who had been enjoying the 
hospitality of the abbot, and amusing themselves by 
hunting in the abbey grounds. 

The abbot laid the facts of the case before the 
judge, who stated most positively that the lands 
might be legally conveyed to his abbey, if the knight 
did not turn up, and he would only charge 10 for 
Affecting the transfer. 

Dinner was announced by the head cook, and 
forthwith the abbot led the judge, and all the goodly 
company, into the banqueting-hall, and they sat down 
to meat. 

They had not long commenced before Sir Richard 
and his men arrived. They knocked loudly at the 
outer door, which was opened by the porter. 

" Thou art right welcome," said he ; " the abbot 
and all the company, for the love of thee, have gone 
to dinner. Ay," he exclaimed, as he caught sight of 
the horse on which the knight rode ; " thou hast got 
the finest horse I ever set eyes on, and they have not 
been a few. Lead the horses into the stable," he 
shouted to the men. 

" No, no," exclaimed the knight sternly; "let 
them stand where they are until I have seen the 

Into the dining-hall he strode, and, bending down 
upon one knee, saluted the company. 


" I hope thou art doing gladly, abbot," said Sir 

" Hast thou brought the money to pay me withal?" 
the abbot responded gruffly. 

" Not a penny of my own have I been able to get," 
replied the knight sadly. 

" Sir Justice," said the abbot, " Sir Justice, I drink 
to thy health." 

The justice and the abbot raised their drinking- 
horns, struck them together, and drank. 

"What dost thou want here, if thou hast not 
brought any redemption - money ?" inquired the 
abbot, with his mouth filled with a slice of roast 
chicken he had just cut from a spit. 

" I came to pray for a little longer patience." 

" The bargain is broken," replied the abbot; "the 
day is up, more thou shalt not have ; thy lands are 
forfeit. Sir Justice," added the abbot, in an under- 
tone, " here is thy fee, in a little bag." 

So saying, the abbot slipped a little canvas bag 
under the table, which the judge pocketed. 

" Sir Justice," said the knight, " wilt thou not plead 
for me?" 

" I cannot," he replied ; " I hold the abbot's fee, to 
effect the transfer of the land." 

Again Sir Richard, who still knelt on one knee, 
appealed to the abbot. 

" Dost thou consent, then, to hold my land, good 
Abbot Cantwell, until I can raise the money for thee, 
and I will be thy true servant in the meantime ?" 

Now, the abbot got into a passion at this, and 


almost choked himself with a piece of bread ; then 
he vowed that the knight should never have his 
lands again from him. 

The knight vowed that he would have the land, or the 
abbot would find it more costly than what he judged. 

Then the abbot began to call the knight all sorts 
of bad names, and finished by saying he was a false 
knight, and if he did not go out of the hall, he would 
have him kicked out. 

In a moment up jumped the knight, and, with a 
changed voice and manner, told the abbot he had 
borne his insolence long enough ; that he was the 
most ungodly abbot, that he had ever known ; that 
instead of looking after the souls of people, his heart 
was set upon gaining their lands, and his chief de- 
light was in eating and drinking. 

The abbot let drop his knife, and with mouth 
wide open, and eyes almost starting out of their 
sockets with rage, stared at the knight, who all the 
while he spoke stalked up and down the hall. 

He was roused from his dire astonishment by the 
justice poking him in the ribs, and asking him aloud 
what more he would give to the knight if he would 
sign a release of his land. 

"Stop, stop, Sir Knight," said the abbot, "and 
don't be angry, I only want what is fair ; suppose I 
give you 100 for the release of the land." 

"Say 200," said the judge; "it's a cheap bar- 
gain; say .200." 

" No, I won't," rejoined the abbot ; " I '11 give him 
100 more, or nothing." 


" If thou wouldst give me 1000," said the knight, 
"thou shouldst not have the land. Neither abbot, 
justice, nor friar shall ever become my heir." 

So saying, he drew from under his cloak a bag, 
and pitched it heavily on to a round table. The 
jingle that it made caused every one present to drop 
his knife. 

" By jingo, thou art done this time," said the jus- 
tice, who was really pleased at the turn things were 

The knight untied the bag, and poured out the 
contents on the table. 

" Here 's thy gold, Sir Abbot," said he, " which 
thou didst lend me ; if thou hadst been at all cour- 
teous to me, thou shouldst have had a good reward 
to boot ; but, as thou treatedst me so shabbily, thou 
shalt not have a penny extra." 

The abbot no sooner saw the gold come rolling 
out of the bag, than he threw himself back in his 
chair speechless. There was royal cheer on the 
table, but the abbot had had enough. His head 
drooped on his shoulder, and he stared wildly on all 
around. At length his gaze was riveted on the 
face of the judge, who gave evident signs of enjoy- 
ment at the surprise of the abbot. 

" Sir Justice," he said, in a loud whisper, " give me 
back that fee." 

" Not a doit," was the reply ; " I '11 see you 
blowed first" 

Then up rose the abbot, and called the high 
cellarer to nil him a horn of the stoutest liquor that 


he had, because he was faint. The liquor was 
brought, and the abbot drank it ; but no more toasts 
drank he that day. The rich lands of Sir Richard 
had been the abbot's in imagination for many 
months. He had made all sorts of plans respecting 
the farming of them, and had even dreamed about 
them at night. There now lay his money on the 
table, in place of the broad acres he had hoped to 
secure. Sir Richard insisted upon the money being 
counted, which was done by the prior. Then Sir 
Richard exclaimed, " Now, Sir Abbot, and thou man 
of law, have I not kept my bond ?" 
"Yea, verily," replied the judge; "and thy lands 
are thine own again." 

Hereupon the knight fixed his hood upon his 
head, and strode out of the door, without so much as- 
saying " Good day." 

In Lea Castle there awaited the knight, with con- 
siderable anxiety, a fair lady, upon whose face were 
traces of deep sorrow. Seven days before her hus- 
band had parted from her to make a last attempt to 
raise the money. 

" Her son, after the unfortunate affray in which he 
had slain the Lancashire knight, had been sent to 
London to join the king's army. There were left 
with her a second son and a daughter. All day long 
they had been straining their eyes from the battle- 
ments of the castle, to catch a glimpse of Sir Richard 

It was night, and there was no sight of his coming. 
All was still in the castle; the children were playing in 


the great hall, heedless of those cares which were so 
sorely oppressing their mother's heart. Their merry 
laughter jarred upon her heart, and she stole away 
to an upper chamber. 

There was a fire burning on the hearth, for the 
evenings were cold. She drew an antique - look- 
ing chair to the fireside, and taking her harp, com- 
menced singing a song, full of lamentation, like her 
heart. While she was thus playing, the old warder 
of the castle heard afar off the sound of horses' feet, 
and he even distinguished his master's laugh a 
joyous laugh, as in olden time. 

The inmates of the castle were quickly roused, and 
Henry, the younger of her sons, bounded up the 
stairs to call his mother. He turned the tapestry 
aside, that hung in lieu of a door, and then stol<* 
softly into the room. The dog which was lying on 
the hearth, as if it had divined the secret that the lad 
was about to tell, sprang up, and capered about the 
room. " Father is here ! " said the lad ; " father is 
here !" His mother started as he spoke, nearly letting 
the harp fall into the fire. 

Down to the castle door she hasted, just in time to 
greet her husband, as, with a joyous laugh, he sprang 
from his saddle. 

"Is all well?" she asked, as she fell upon his 

" All is well," was his response, " thank God and 
Robin Hood !" 


Little John goes to a Shooting Match in Nottingham, and enters into 
the Sheriff's Service The chief Members of the Sheriff's House- 
hold Tearem watches over Bucket all Night Little John helps 
himself to Dinner, and has a Fight with the Cook They steal 
the Plate, and join Robin Hood The Sheriff's Entertainment in 
the Forest 

jlHE Sheriff of Nottingham was so discon- 
certed at the result of his late encounter, 
that he held no more shooting matches 
that year. In the early part of the next 
summer, however, he gave out the conditions and 
prizes of another trial of skill; but no thought of 
Robin Hood coming ever entered his mind. Robin 
heard of the match ; but the prize, which was a young 
bullock, was not sufficiently tempting. 

Little John, however, thought otherwise. He had 
not been in the town of Nottingham for several years, 
and had never seen the renowned sheriff of whom he 
had heard so much ; so, taking his bow and quiver, 
he repaired to the town to try his skill at the archery 
match. Robin advised him to go in disguise, but 


bade him bring no more bankrupt knights to dine 
with him. 

Little John found a great throng about the shoot- 
ing butts, and amongst them the sheriff and Gruff 
were pointed out to him. The two were engaged in 
a conversation at the time, which provoked much 
mirth ; and drawing nearer, Little John heard the 
sheriff taunting Gruff with his want of skill in losing 
the silver arrow. Gruff responded, by laying the 
whole blame upon the sheriff's bungling mistake, 
which had cost him so dearly. However, he vowed 
that he would carry off the prize that day, if it was 
only to show the sheriff what a good shot he was. 

He bragged so about cleaving a wand, and spoke 
so disdainfully of the butts, that the sheriff determined 
that the archers should have nothing to fire at but 
wands that day. 

So one being placed in front of the butt, the archers 
were ordered to make ready. 

Little John accordingly took his station beside the 
others. He was so tall that he seemed a head and 
shoulders higher than his companions ; and his un- 
gainly figure excited much merriment amongst the 

At the first round, however, all save Little John 
missed the mark, whereat tfre people, gave a great 
shout and made no more fun of him. The second 
round was the same ; and the third followed, and Little 
John was again the only one who touched the wand. 

Gruff fumed with rage, and declared that the 
stranger must be an outlaw ; but no forester had ever 


seen him with Robin Hood or his men, and so he 
merely laughed at their suspicions. 

The sheriff declared he had never seen such skill 
in his life before. " What is thy name ?" said he. 

" Men call me Reynold Greenleaf," responded Little 

So in truth he was a green-leaf, but belonging to 
such a tree as the sheriff did not wot of. 

" If you will enter my service," said the sheriff, " I 
will give you fine clothing, good food, and twenty 
marks a-year beside." 

" I'm your man," responded Little John. 

"Well, you've won the bullock," said the sheriff, 
" like a man and a good archer." 

" And I give it to be divided amongst those who 
have shot with me to-day," said Little John. " Let 
them have it" 

" And I will add a barrel of humming strong ale," 
said the sheriff; " because I have got an archer now 
equal to Robin Hood himself." 

The people shouted aloud on hearing this, and 
forthwith set themselves about roasting the bullock, 
and preparing for a feast. The sheriff, proud of his 
new man, took him home with him, to introduce him 
to Dame Gammer and the other members of his 

There was Bucket the butler, a stiff-necked, cross- 
grained, middle-aged man, who lorded it over all the 
other servants in the house; and who grumbled at 
everybody save his master and mistress, and every- 
thing save the dog Tearem, all day long. 


In the kitchen was the cook, who rejoiced in the 
name of Firepan, and whose skill in cooking of 
which he was very proud was continually bringing 
him into collision with Bucket. 

To both of these gentlemen Little John was intro- 
duced as the newly-acquired member of the house- 
hold ; and then he was formally brought before Dame 

The sheriff was puzzled at first to know what to do 
with Little John ; he could assign him no special 
office; and ultimately it was resolved that he should 
be kept in reserve to shoot at archery meetings, and 
to fight, whenever called upon, for his master. 

Little John's introduction to the house was the 
cause of great jealousy. Bucket looked upon him as 
an interloper, who had won the old servants' grace 
from the master ; while Firepan declared that such 
an awkward fellow was not fit to be the kitchen bottle- 

Little John had for a while an uneasy time of it 
between the two chief servants ; but found consolation 
and companionship in Tearem. 

This dog was chained up during the day, but at 
night was allowed to roam about the yard. He had 
an unpleasant habit of springing at the legs of all 
about the place, and tearing the flesh, when they in- 
cautiously gave him an opportunity. He would bark at 
everything and everybody. If a rag was thrown towards 
him, he would bark most furiously ; and if Bucket or 
Firepan passed, men whom all good-natured dogs 
would have loved and respected, he barked as 


though he suspected they had some evil design upon 
his food. 

But Little John and Tearem became fast friends. 
Little John petted and caressed him, and Tearem was 
docile as a pup. 

One day Bucket had been unusually severe upon 
Little John, and had scanted his allowance of food. 

Little John, who was a close observer of things, had 
found out that the butler was in the habit occasion- 
ally of going, in the middle of the night, to the cellar 
to supply himself with a bottle of some choice 

So one night Little John, all unobserved, slipped 
Tearem into the cellar. In the middle of the night 
the butler, not fully dressed, stole down stairs to the 
cellar. He had opened the door, and was rummag- 
ing amongst the bottles, when Tearem sprang upon 
him with a loud growl, and pinned him by his shirt 

In the terror of the moment, Bucket let drop the 
bottle that he had in his hand, which was broken on 
the floor. He coaxed the dog, and called it all sorts 
of fine names; but the animal must have had a lively 
recollection of some shortcomings of bone, and only 
replied to Bucket's fond words by a continued growl. 
The butler tried to relieve himself from the dog's 
grip, but the moment he moved a hand the dog made 
a snap as though he would have taken the man's 
finger off. 

So Tearem continued to hold on, and Bucket re- 
mained standing in his cold prison during the hours of 


midnight, and till grey dawn of morning began to peep 
in through the cellar grating at the dog and the butler. 

Little John was up unusually early that morning ; 
in fact, he had slept very little ; for through a crevice 
in the floor above the cellar he had been listening 
most of the night to what had been going on between 
Bucket and Tearem. When the morning dawned, he 
roused Firepan, and communicated to him his fear 
that some robbers had been in the house in the night 
and carried off the butler. 

It was Little John's duty to get the big keys of the 
front door and the yard-gate from the butler in the 
morning, and so Firepan did not suspect any trick. 
Together with Little John, they descended the 
stairs, very cautiously, to look for the unfortunate 
butler. Room after room was explored without find- 
ing the slightest traces of the poor man. At length 
Firepan declared that he heard the growl of a dog, 
and Little John, pretending to recognise the voice, 
said it was no other than Tearem. 

At this point of their search they were joined by 
the sheriff himself, who, when informed of Bucket's 
mysterious disappearance, expressed his belief that 
the evil spirits had claimed him on account of the 
many delinquencies of which he had been guilty. 

Again there was heard the low growl, and the sheriff 
corroborated Little John in the expression of his be- 
lief that it was Tearem. 

Sounds came from the lower portion of the house 
there could be no mistake about that; down stairs 
they went, and there, to the astonishment of two of 


the party, they heard the butler in a deploring tone 
beseeching Tearem to let him go. Down the steps 
of the cellar they went, and there they found the poor 
butler, who had been keeping his vigil amongst the 
bottles, almost cramped and starved to death by a 
scarcity of clothing, and by the position in which he 
had been placed. 

Tearem still held on to his shirt behind, and when 
they called him, only growled out a refusal to part 
with one over whom he had exercised such watchful- 
ness throughout the night. 

Little John crammed his fingers into his mouth to 
prevent himself from being heard laughing ; but the 
comical appearance which the butler presented at 
length caused them all to burst out in a roar of 

There at his feet lay a small pool of wine, in which 
his toes had been standing all night. 

The sheriff guessed in a moment the real state of 
affairs, and shook his fist playfully at the butler, who 
still maintained the same position, held last by Tearem, 
who seemed uncommonly proud of having captured 
such a notable offender. The sheriff and Firepan 
called to the dog again and again to let go, but his 
angry growl, accompanied with an expressive shake of 
that portion of the shirt he held in his mouth, signified 
his determination to hold on for the present at any 

At length Little John came to the rescue, and after 
admonishing the butler never to go prowling about 
the house at midnight like a burglar, with a villainous 


intent to rob his master's cellar, he went up to the 
dog, and, patting him about the head, praised him, 
saying, "Good fellow! Good fellow! Now let him 


In a moment the dog let go his hold of the butler, 
and frisked about as though proud of his achieve- 

The butler, not suspecting that Little John had 
had so much to do with his prolonged vigil, at- 
tempted to compromise the matter by praising the 
sagacity of the dog, although in this instance he 
declared he had caught an honest man. 

Not in the very best of tempers, the butler went 
up stairs, shivering in every limb, amidst the merry 
laughter of those who had found him. 

Little John's behaviour afterwards induced the sus- 
picion in Bucket's mind that he had really been the 
victim of a practical joke, and no sooner did this im- 
pression enter his mind than he began to plan some 
method of revenge. 

There were two he wanted to punish : the first was 
the unfortunate dog who had so faithfully kept watch 
over him during the night, and the other Little John, 
Tearem's friend, or, as Bucket called him, " that odious 
Greenleaf." A few days afterwards the dog showed 
symptoms of illness, which ended in death. The 
butler had been unusually attentive to it since his 
night's imprisonment, and there was very little doubt 
that he had given him some poisoned meat, and so 
got rid of one obnoxious trickster. 

He then turned his attention to Little John, who 


very soon noticed the alteration in Bucket's de- 
meanour, and was at no loss to account for it. But 
Little John was one of those not at all afraid of any 
trick that might be played upon him, but returning 
it with very good interest. 

Firepan, long after the discovery of Bucket in the 
cellar, continued to tease him, and affirmed that the 
cost of wine was more than the whole of the other 
expenses of the establishment. This was a sore point 
with Bucket, and he vowed that he would have no 
such tormentors about him. 

The Sheriff frequently went out hunting with 
gentlemen of the town ; and Little John, being some- 
times upon these occasions left at home, made good 
use of the opportunity by investigating the contents 
of the several rooms and chests that were about the 
place. Little John's eye was attracted by a quiver ot 
arrows that hung over the fireplace, and taking them 
down he examined them closely and finally ex- 
changed several in his own quiver for those in the 
sheriff's. It was a part of his creed that exchange 
was no robbery ; but he little knew the vital conse- 
quences, both to Robin Hood and the Sheriff, that 
depended on the arrows which he thus appropriated. 

At other times Little John accompanied the sheriff 
and his friends on their expeditions, when he displayed 
his skill as an archer in knocking over game with 
remarkable facility. The sheriff was proud of his man, 
and Little John pretended as much affection for his 

Upon one occasion Little John was left at home, 


while his master went out on one of these excursions, 
and it being an unusually hot day, he lay in bed very 
much longer than usual. Dinner time came, and no 
friend in the household made his appearance with any 
refreshment for him. Now, one of the greatest objec- 
tions that Little John had was fasting when hungry ; 
and when dinner hour passed, he dressed himself and 
sallied down stairs in quest of meat. 

There stood the butler with a savage grin upon his 
countenance, which bespoke some inward satisfac- 

Little John said, "Where's my dinner?" where- 
upon the butler replied, " In my pantry." 

" Well, bring it out," said Little John. 

" Go in and fetch it," said the butler. 

" Bring it out, I say !" Little John repeated, vexed 
at the impertinent attitude and voice of the butler. 

" Go in and fetch it," again replied the butler. 

The pantry being close at hand, Little John went 
to it, followed closely at his heels by the butler. 
Little John tried the door, which slid down into its 
place from the ceiling ; but the door was fast. In a 
moment he burst the panel with his foot, and the door 
sprang up sufficiently high to allow of his going in 
and helping himself. Seeing this, the butler started 
forth and laid hold of Little John by the neck, but 
Little John gave him a rap that doubled him up. 
The butler twisted himself round as though he would 
have retired, and Little John, seeing his bent position, 
could not resist the temptation, but raising his foot 
gave him another application which sent him spin- 


ning along the passage faster than he had ever tra- 
versed it before. 

The pantry was well stored with good things, and 
Little John, not being at all fastidious in his choice, 
fell to at the nearest dish, and pretty quickly made 
up for lost time. He also drew himself horns full of 
ale and wine, and altogether enjoyed his repast 

The butler, after his second blow, made such a 
frightful noise at the end of the passage most distant 
from where Little John was regaling himself, that the 
cook, who was busy in the kitchen, became alarmed, 
and hastily ran up stairs to see what the commotion 

Up he came, three stairs at a time, with a large 
spit in his hand on which some meat had been roast- 
ing. In his haste to be present on the scene he 
almost pinned the butler to the floor, but managed to 
withdraw the spit after it had entered to a certain 
depth in a very tender part of the butler's body. 

This second attack upon him made Bucket roar 
again, and Little John came out to see who was his 
new assailant. In one hand Little John carried the 
sheriff's favourite carving knife, and in the other he 
bore a horn he had just filled with wine. He stared 
at the cook, and the cook stared at him. 

" What in the name of all that 's good and fit to be 
killed and roasted," said the cook, "are you about 
there, Little John?" 

" I am dining," he replied ; " come and drink the 
butler's health." 


The cook very readily accepted the invitation. 
Wine was a failing of his, but he had few opportu- 
nities of gratifying his taste in that respect, because 
the butler kept the keys pretty close. 

The butler, hoping to get the cook on his side, vowed 
that Little John was the fellow who had half killed 
him, and that when the master returned he would 
have him severely punished for his audacious theft. 

" Thou liest," responded Little John ; "I am no thief, 
but a true man, as thou and thy master will one day 
find out. I have never served man unfaithfully yet." 

" Don't go near him," said the butler to the cook, 
" and thou shalt have a horn with me, so soon as I am 
able to rise." 

The cook, seeing the butler make some attempt to 
do this, laid down his spit to assist him. 

"No! no!" hastily exclaimed the butler; "don't 
be too quick ; I don't know where my bones are yet ; 
and I have known many a man break a limb by being 
in too great a hurry to get up when he's been 
knocked down." 

Very slowly the butler commenced the operation of 
getting up. First he stretched one limb and then the 
other, threw out his arms one after the other, and 
finally sat on the floor ; but, as this last position was 
the most painful of all, he quickly turned round upon 
his face again, asserting that his back was broken. 

Little John stood near the pantry door looking on, 
and laughing immoderately at the ridiculous exertions 
put forth by the butler in the endeavour to ascertain 
that he was sound in his limbs. 


At length, by the cook's persuasion and gentle help, 
he was once more fairly on his legs again ; and then 
he placed himself with his back against the wall, 
while the cook raised his spit and advanced towards 
Little John in a threatening attitude. 

" There is nothing," said Little John, " that I should 
like better, now I have dined, than to have a bout 
with the master's cook. Therefore, I pray thee, lay 
down the spit and take thy sword, or I will carve 
thee as thou hast carved many a bird thyself." 

The cook, who was of a somewhat fiery temper, 
laid down the spit and drew his sword. 

They then approached each other, and in a moment 
their weapons were clashing in the air. The cook 
was a famous swordsman, and Little John was in no 
wise his inferior. Up and down the lobby they went, 
the one advancing and the other retreating, hitting at 
each other in right good earnest, but so well matched 
that neither one was able to inflict a blow upon the 

As they advanced the first time in the direction of 
where the butler stood propped against the wall, he 
manifested extraordinary alacrity in getting out of 
the way, and betook himself to his cellar, where he 
locked himself in, and, having no fear of Tearem before 
his eyes, he quickly uncorked the very best bottle in 
the cellar. 

The fight continued in the lobby above for such a 
time, that the butler was in doubt whether either of 
them would survive the conflict ; and he continued to 
drink, long after all noise had ceased, until his own 


little senses were completely muddled by the liquor, 
and he lay sound asleep upon the cellar floor. 

Meanwhile Little John and Firepan having fought 
for one good hour, and being exhausted by their 
efforts, mutually consented to an armistice each 
wondering at the skill of the other. 

" I will make my vow," said Little John, " that thou 
art one of the best swordsmen I ever saw, and could 'st 
thou but shoot with a bow as well as thou dost use 
thy sword, thou should'st accompany me to Robin 
Hood and live with him in the Greenwood Glade all 
the year ; and thou should'st have two suits of clothes 
and twenty marks for thy fee." 

" Put up thy sword," said the cook ; " the service 
that thou speakest of is the service for me ; therefore, 
let us have a horn of wine together and swear friend- 

They both retired to the pantry, where they feasted 
upon humble pie and good bread and wine. After 
they had eaten and drunk as much as they felt in- 
clined to, Firepan said, 

" Don't let us go to Robin empty handed. There 
is good store here of rich plate, and we will help our- 
selves before we depart." 

To the secret rooms they immediately repaired. 
The locks on the doors and chests, though they were 
of good steel, were quickly broken, and they took 
away the silver vessels and cups and spoons that were 

Finally they managed to open the sheriff's strong 
chest, where they found 300 in gold, and putting the 


gold and plate in bags, they forthwith laid them across 
the back of a horse which they took out of the 
sheriff's stable, and started on their way to Sherwood 
Forest. When they got clear of the town, they has- 
tened forward, and were soon under the shade of the 
beautiful trees that Little John loved so well. 

The cook was elated with joy at the thought of the 
merry life he should lead in the forest, and in a very 
few hours they reached the spot where the signal 
from Little John, blown on his horn, was answered by 
a note from Robin Hood himself. Soon afterwards 
they were met by Robin Hood, accompanied by the 
friar, Much, Scathelock, and several others. 

Robin Hood was amazed to see the horse and a 
stranger accompanying Little John. 

Raising his cap,. Little John bent his knee before 
Robin, and said, " God save thee, master ; I have 
brought a guest to-night. He is willing to swear 
fidelity to you, and to remain with us in the forest ; 
and he has brought a present to you from the sheriff 
of Nottingham." 

"Welcome !" said Robin Hood, "and welcome also 
to the stranger, whose bags seem so well filled." 

"What tidings from Nottingham?" said Robin, 
turning to Little John. 

" The sheriff bade me say he greets thee with love, 
and has sent his cook, his silver vessels, and 300 for 
a present." 

Said Robin, " I vow that it was never by the 
sheriff's good-will that his cook and silver vessels and 
gold came to me." 


" Nay," said Little John, " if thou dost not believe 
me I will bring the sheriff himself here, and thou 
canst question him upon the matter, as thou dost 

Whereupon Little John took his leave of Robin 
and his friends, and ran off into the forest, notwith- 
standing the repeated calls of Robin for him to 

Five miles ran Little John, and then met the sheriff 
hunting with hound and horn, and a few gay friends. 
Little John raised his cap and bent his knee before 
the sheriff. 

" God save thee, master," said Little John. 

Said the sheriff, " Reynold Greenleaf, where hast 
thou been?" 

Answered Little John, " I have been in the forest, 
where such a sight as I have seen was never before 
known. Yonder," he said, waving his hand towards the 
forest, " is a young hart, of the most beautiful green 
that I have ever set eyes on. His head, his body, his 
legs, are all of the same colour, and there are several 
score deer with him all of the same hue. He seemed 
so fierce, master, that I dared not shoot him, for dread 
that they would slay me." 

Said the sheriff, " I would fain see that sight." 

Little John said, " Then get from off thy horse and 
walk with me, and we will see the deer where they 
can't get at us, and you will say that such a sight 
was never seen in this world before." 

The sheriff got off his horse, and bade the company 
await him for a short time. 


Into the forest he went, led by Little John. After 
leading the sheriff a few miles, he suddenly brought 
him to the place where he had left Robin examin- 
ing the booty. 

" Lo," said Little John, " here is the hart, master 
sheriff, of which I spake to thee." 

The sheriff was completely taken aback, and stood 
still. He was evidently very much disconcerted at the 
sight he saw, and he remembered, with regret, how 
many times he had incurred the hate of Robin Hood. 

Turning to Little John, he said, " Woe betide thee, 
Reynold Greenleaf, thou hast betrayed me." 

"Nay, nay!" said Little John ; "I have not; it is 
thyself who art to blame ; for thy knave of a butler 
refused to give me my dinner this day, and I was fain 
obliged to punish him and help myself; but, master, 
the green hart will give thee entertainment here, 
and, I prythee, do thou tell the butler, when thou 
gettest back, that some day he and I will have a 

The sheriff wanted to return immediately to his 
party, but was constrained to remain by Robin. 
Dinner was served in the forest upon silver plate. 

When the sheriff sat down to meat and saw his 
own silver vessels, he was sore at heart and lost all 
appetite. Robin noticed the change in his manner, 
and told him he was a lucky man, -that Little John 
had begged his life ; for, added Robin, 

" That would have been forfeited to me had I been 
strict to punish thee for all the injuries thou hast in- 
flicted upon me." 


The sheriff was silent ; but, nevertheless, would not 
eat any of the delicate meats that were placed before 

After dinner, Robin commanded Little John to 
draw off the sheriff's stockings and shoes ; his coat, 
which was of very rich cloth, was also taken from him 
and a green mantle given him in exchange, wherein 
to wrap his body. 

Robin then ordered that the sheriff should lie in 
that state under a tree all night that he might see 
how pleasant a thing it was to live in the forest. The 
sheriff was obliged to lie down as directed, and had 
the mortification of seeing Robin Hood's men lie 
around him on heaps of straw and skins, while he, in 
the centre, had to lie upon the hard ground. 

All night lay the sheriff in this way, and little sleep 
visited him. It was no wonder that, ever afterwards, 
he vowed the sight of the forest made his sides ache. 

When morning dawned, and they were aroused by 
the song of the birds and the glances of the sun upon 
the landscape, Robin asked the sheriff, with mock 
courtesy, how he liked sleeping in the forest. 

" It is harder," said the sheriff, " than any friar's 
life. I would not lie here another night for all the 
gold there is in merry England." 

" What !" said Robin ; M I say thou shalt lie with 
me twelve months, and I will teach thee to be an out- 

" I beseech you," he replied, " rather than let me 
pass another night, smite off my head ; but if you will 
let me go, I will be your best friend yet." 


Robin drew his sword and made the sheriff swear 
another oath that he would never do him evil by 
water or by land, and if he found any of his men by 
night or by day, he would help them with all his 

The sheriff swore the oath with considerable vigour, 
and made up his mind, at the same time, that he would 
break it as soon as he had the chance. 


Death of Henry II. Robin visits Nottingham in the gui?e of a 
Butcher ; and the Sheriff visits Sherwood The adventure with 
the two Monks of St Mary's Abbey. 

j|N July the 6th, 1 189, died Henry the Second, 
and was succeeded by Richard, the wan- 
dering king of England. The circum- 
stances of the age pointed to the Holy 
Land as the place where kings might obtain renown, 
and build for themselves everlasting names and glory 
by fighting around the sepulchre of Christ. The 
desire that Henry had for leading the expedition 
thither had not been fulfilled, and Richard, whose 
whole soul seemed framed in the sinews of war, de- 
termined that his first battle should be against the 

Regents were appointed to govern England in his 
absence, and his brother John had granted him the 
earldoms of Nottingham and Derby. 

These were good times for Nottingham, and the 
sheriff turned his attention from the forest rovers to 


the prospect of having to entertain so notable a per- 
sonage as the brother of the king. The people of 
Nottingham looked forward with fond hopes to the 
advance of trade, from the time when John would 
come to his castle. With the decease of Henry, they 
hoped that many abuses which had existed in the 
kingdom would be remedied, and that many hard- 
ships which had been practised upon the people by 
the king's officers would be abated ; and they heard, 
with feelings of joy and admiration, of the resolve of 
the king to carry the banners of England into so 
holy a war as that in Palestine. 

Robin Hood and his band heard of the changes 
that had taken place in the government of England, 
and determined to maintain their stand in the forest, 
whatsoever might betide them. 

It was in the fall of the year, and Robin had not 
heard certain news that he desired from Nottingham, 
so he one day sallied forth, notwithstanding the pro- 
testations of some of those by whom he was sur- 
rounded, and determined to visit Nottingham, and 
see for himself what was going forward there. 

As he, in the disguise of a beggar, was plodding 
along the road, it chanced that Robin met with a 
jolly butcher, who was driving a fine mare, laden 
with meat, which he purposed selling in the Notting- 
ham market. This was just the thing for Robin, and 
he determined, if possible, to make a bargain with 
the butcher, to visit Nottingham in that guise. He 
speedily entered into conversation with the butcher, 
and they agreed together upon the Drice, not only for 


the meat, but also for the horse on which he rode, 
and the clothes he wore, and so a bargain was 

Putting his horn to his mouth, Robin was very 
shortly met by Will, to whom he commended the 
care of the butcher until his return. The butcher, 
pleased with his morning's work, right willingly re- 
paired with Will to the forest, and Robin went on 
his way to Nottingham. 

He passed into the town with as much impudence 
as he could command, pressed amongst the butchers^ 
and shouted at the top of his voice, 

" Good meat for sale, come buy, my friends ; as 
good there may be, better there cannot be found in 
Nottingham market." 

To the astonishment of the other butchers, by 
whom the market was crowded, Robin sold for one 
penny as much as they sold for three, and, so long as 
this continued, no butcher near him Could get a single 

They accordingly put their heads together, ques- 
tioning amongst themselves who this was that could 
sell at so much lower a price than they were doing. 

Some said, " He is a prodigal, and has sold his 
father's land, and this is his first attempt at trading." 

Others said, " He is some thief, who has murdered 
a butcher, and stolen his horse and meat." 

Robin heard these things said, and paid no heed to 
them, only shouting out the louder the cheapness 
and quality of his flesh. Robin's good-humour made 
the people laugh ; and the butchers, seeing that he 


had now sold all his meat, said to him, " Come, 
brother butcher, thou must pay thy footing for stand- 
ing in Nottingham Market. We are old salesmen 
here, and thou hast never sold here before ; therefore 
thou must stand by the rules of the trade." 

"We dine at the sheriff's to-day," said another, 
" and thou must make one of our party." 

" Agreed," said Robin ; " I will come with thee, my 
true brethren, as fast as I can, for he is no butcher 
who would deny his brethren so gentle a courtesy." 

The horses were left in the charge of the boys who 
were hanging about the market-place waiting for 
jobs; and the butchers repaired to the sheriff's house, 
where the feast (for which the butchers had each 
to pay his share) was prepared. It was like an 
ordinary at a public inn, which the sheriff provided 
for certain trades that were represented in the market 
on fair days ; and he derived a considerable amount 
of profit from the fees which they paid him for the 
privileges of trading in the market, and dining at his 

At the door they were met by the sheriff himself,. 
who bade the whole of them a hearty welcome. 
Behind him was Bucket, the butler, who also gave 
them welcome ; and then the whole company was 
shewn into the large dining-room, where the table 
was spread with good cheer for the feast. The 
sheriff presided, sitting in an old-fashioned chair, 
while Dame Gammer sat at the bottom of the table. 
All were very merry. 

When they were all ready, a middle-aged butcher, 


who seemed to be the spokesman of the party, 
announced to the sheriff and his wife that they had 
got a new brother amongst them, who had come to 
the market that day for the first time, and, according 
to custom, he should call upon him to say grace. 
All the butchers hereupon hit the table hard raps 
with their fists, and looked towards Robin, who was 
so well disguised as to excite no suspicion in the 
mind of the sheriff. 
He at once rose 

" Pray God bless us all," said jolly Robin, 

" And our meat within this place ; 
A cup of good sack will nourish our blood, 
And so I end my grace. Amen." 

"Hear, hear,'' shouted the sheriff; "fill a bumper 
while we drink a health to our new brother. Now, 
Bucket," he added, turning to the butler, who stood 
behind his chair, with his eyes fixed upon Robin, 
" fill round quickly, man: ; " 

The butler filled the sheriff's horn, and then went 
round the table, filling the horns of all the guests as 
quickly as he could. A very hearty wish was ex- 
pressed by all for Robin's success. 

The feast then proceeded with much merriment; 
and Robin, elated by the progress of his plan; vowed 
he would pay the reckoning for them all. More 
wine was ordered in, and bumpers were drunk to 
everybody by everybody. The fun soon became fast 
and furious, and when at last they sallied forth to 
look after their horses, they were in such a queer 
state that good bargains were made by careful house- 


wives in the market that night. When they parted, 
all shook hands with Robin, and swore that they 
loved him as a brother, that he was the best man in 
all Nottingham Market, and they hoped that they 
should meet every fair day as merrily as they had 
that. Robin declared that every time he visited 
Nottingham with his horse and meat he would give 
them c. like entertainment. 

When they parted, however, the butchers began 
discussing who Robin could be. Some said, (t He is 
a mad blade, who does not know the value of money, 
but he will find it out when he pays for the feast." 
Others said, " Jt is the first time he has come to 
market, but his father won't trust him again." 

The sheriff whispered to his wife, " This is some 
foolish prodigal, who has sold some land for gold, 
and he means to spend all in riotous living." 

" Canst thou not make a bargain with him?" said 
the thrifty woman. " It were as well that a little of 
his land came to us, as that it were all spent in eating 
and drinking." 

" A good thought," the sheriff replied ; " do thou 
invite him to stop this night with us, and ere we go 
to bed, depend upon it, if he has any more land to 
spare, I will be the buyer." 

Dame Gammer immediately invited Robin, in very 
complimentary terms, as he was a stranger in Nott- 
ingham, to remain in their house that night, lest the 
butchers might take advantage of him. 

Robin at first declined the kind offer, declaring 
that he was afraid of no man, and that he was bound 


to go home that night, although his ride would be a 
lonely one in the forest. 

Dame Gammer pressed him still more urgently to 
remain, and at length Robin, with much apparent 
reluctance, consented. 

The fact was, that the moment the invitation was 
given, Robin resolved to accept it ; but fearing, lest 
his ready compliance would give them a suspicion 
concerning him, he affected reluctance. 

The sheriff declared to Robin that he was the best 
butcher he had ever met, and the most liberal of all 
that ever visited Nottingham. 

There was very little doubt about this, because 
Robin paid a good heavy bill which the butler pre- 
sented to him, chalked on a piece of wood, with the 
greatest readiness ; and this only confirmed the 
sheriff and his wife in their suspicion that Robin was 
some prodigal, who had more money in his pockets 
than he very well knew what to do with. 

Accompanied by the sheriff, Robin strolled out 
through the streets of Nottingham that night, and the 
sheriff showed him with evident pride the jail where 
the ruffians as he called the prisoners were confined, 
and where they sometimes managed, he added, to 
place a forest rover in durance. Afterwards, he took 
Robin to the place where the shooting matches were 
always held, little thinking that Robin knew his 
way to the place as well as the sheriff did himself. 
Then they went up to the castle, and Robin was 
shown all the newest engines of war by one of the 
soldiers. They afterwards returned to a sumptuous 


supper prepared by Dame Gammer, who put on her 
most engaging manners so as to captivate Robin. 
Jokes passed current during the meal, and Robin 
laughed the loudest. Just before bed -time, the 
sheriff having, as he thought, primed his guest to 
the humour of giving, hinted that he had rather 
more money than he knew what to do with, and 
wanted advice concerning the laying of some of it 
out at interest. 

Robin suggested that land and cattle were the best 
securities for money. 

The sheriff concurred, but lamented that he was no 
judge of either, and was afraid to venture upon such 
purchases. " Had he any land ?'' 

" Yes he had," was the reply, " and he would be glad 
to sell some of it to the sheriff. The land was good, and 
was well stocked with fat cattle, as fat as could be 
found in any forest." 

" How many head of cattle hast thou for sale, and 
what quantity of land ?" 

" Two hundred head of cattle," said Robin, " and a 
hundred good acres of land. If I can find a customer, 
I '11 sell at a bargain." 

" Why?" put the sheriff. 

" Because I'm sick of a quiet country life, and want 
to see the world," was the reply. " I have a desire to 
go to London to join the king's army." 

" If the land were good, the cattle fat, and both 
cheap, I'd not mind buying myself," said the sheriff. 

"^300 will buy the whole," remarked Robin. 

" Say 2QO," was the sheriff's reply. " It isn't worth 


more, take my word for it, and the money shall be 
paid down." 

"Done then," exclaimed Robin ; "I'm not a good 
hand at buying and selling ; but I agree." 

" Is it to be a bargain ?" said Dame Gammer, who 
had been quietly listening to the conversation. 

" Ay," said Robin, 

" Call Bucket," said the sheriff, " and let us have a 
bumper of wine over it." 

The butler was called in, first of all, to be a witness 
to the bargain, and the man stood in the same strange 
attitude that Robin had noticed at dinner ; there was 
something about the visitor that seemed to puzzle the 
butler very much. Wine was produced, horns filled, 
and success to the bargain was toasted. The sheriff 
and his visitor sat up until a late hour, and when at 
length the butler showed Robin to his room, the grey 
streaks of morning were coming through the windows. 

After seeing Robin safely ensconsed in bed, the* 
butler repaired to the sheriff, and declared most em- 
phatically his belief that their visitor had not a single 
acre of land, or head of cattle. 

The sheriff laughed at his fears, and bade him give 
counsel when it was asked for, whereat the butler 
stole off to bed, grumbling as he went at what he 
called his master's stupidity. 

The sheriff, when quite alone, unlocked his strong 
box, and taking out sundry bags of money, counted 
down 200 in gold. Then he sought his chamber, 
and dreamed away a few hours in possession of herds 
of cattle, and immense landed estates. 


On coming down in the morning, Robin found pre- 
parations had been commenced for their journey. In 
the yard two men were engaged saddling the horses. 
Robin's horse was a dapple grey, and belonged to 
the butcher, but was not worth much. The other was 
a fine bay horse, the property of the sheriff. At length 
all the preliminaries having been arranged, they rode 
forth, the one to buy and the other to sell. 

As they entered within the precincts of the forest, 
the sheriff said with a sigh, " God preserve us this day 
from a man they call Robin Hood !" 

Robin told the sheriff he need have no fear of that 
outlaw, for he was only a coward ; and nothing, save 
and except the presence of the sheriff, would give him 
(the butcher) greater pleasure that morning than the 
company of Robin Hood. 

The sheriff shuddered at the very thought. 

Away they rode through the forest for several hours, 
until they reached the centre, when Robin, observing 
a herd of deer numbering not fewer than a hundred, 
shouted out, " There, there, do you not see them now ? 
How dost thou like my fat beasts ?" 

The sheriff stared hard at Robin as he spoke, and 
with a troubled voice said, " I tell thee, my good fel- 
low, I wish I was out of this, for I do not much like 
thy company." 

" Come, come, Master Sheriff," said he, " dost thou 
mean to say thou knowest not Robin Hood ? How* 
ever, thou shalt dine with him to-day, and then thou 
shalt have a fair exchange for thy gold." 


The sheriff would have ridden off, but Robin seized 
the bridle and stopped him. Then setting his horn 
to his mouth, he blew three blasts that echoed throuerh 


the forest far and wide. There was an immediate an- 
swer, and shortly came running in Little John, Much, 
Scathelock, and others, who bowed themselves before 
Robin, and saluted the sheriff very warmly. 

"I've brought a fair guest," said Robin, "not un- 
known to most of you, one who can pay and not 

As they turned in the direction of the place where the 
house erected for Robin's men stood, they disturbed 
immense quantities of game, all of which was pointed 
out to the sheriff by Robin as so much cattle of his. 

At dinner every attention was paid to the sheriff 
and Robin narrated to his men the entertainment he 
had had in Nottingham, and how readily he had sold 
his meat. The butcher was not present at the feast, 
because he was afraid of being seen by the sheriff, and 
being punished on some future visit to the market. 
Bumpers were drunk to the sheriff, Dame Gammer 
Bucket, and the new fraternity into which Robin had 
been admitted as a brother. The sheriff begged that 
he might be allowed to go home before night, ,which 
was agreed to. Before he departed, however, Little 
John fetched the sheriff's saddle-bags, and took from 
thence his bag of gold, which was opened and emptied 
on a mantle spread before all the company. When 
this had been done, Robin set the sheriff on the 
butcher's dapple grey, and as he rode away, bade him 


give the forest-rover's love to Dame Gammer, and say 
how happy he would be to welcome her to the forest 
whenever she chose to come. 

The sheriff rode home a sadder, though not a wiser, 
man. He was fain obliged to keep the trick which 
had been played upon him a secret, because he knew 
if it once got abroad, he should never hear the last 
of it. 

The time had now elapsed when Sir Richard of the 
Lea was to return the money he had borrowed. Robin 
lay at the root of the Greenwood-tree when a twelve- 
month and a day had elapsed, and calling Little John 
to him, he said, 

" I fear I have been guilty of some offence against 
the Virgin Mary, because she has not yet returned 
me the money." 

" Don't fear, master," was his response. " It is yet 
but early morning ; but do you let three of us go into 
the forest, and see whether we can meet with some 
messenger who will bring us the money, or tidings of 
the knight." 

" That is well," observed Robin, " go thou into the 
forest, and take Much and Scathelock with thee. 
Mind you do not return without a visitor to dinner ; 
for though we do not find the knight, I vow we will 
have a merry feast." 

Much and Scathelock were summoned, and set out 
with Little John to seek a guest in the forest. They 
went off in the same direction in which, twelve months 
before, they had met the knight ; " for surely," said 
Little John, " he will come riding that way if he comes 


at all." They sauntered on for several hours without 
meeting any one, "and Little John began to doubt 
whether they would be able to find a guest that day. 
At length they heard the tramp of horses' feet, and a 
great noise as of many people. They immediately 
secreted themselves amongst the trees, and presently 
they saw two monks, dressed in black, riding in ad- 
vance of about fifty men, who had in charge seven 
sumpter horses that were well laden. 

" Here come our messengers from the Virgin," said 
Little John. 

" Her messengers are riding in state," observed 

" One shaft will startle them off like a bird from a 
briar," Much said. 

" Make an arrow ready on your string, Much," Little 
John replied ; " while Scathelock and I summon them 
to stop." 

Into the middle of the road marched Little John 
and Scathelock ; and, in a loud voice, the former com- 
manded the monks to halt, or they would slay both. 
The appearance of the two strangers made a great 
commotion amongst the members of the train. One 
of the monks made as though he would have ridden 
at Little John, but he checked his horse on seeing his 
opponent draw his bow up to his breast and prepare 
to shoot. 

" Abide, thou churl !" Little John exclaimed ; " or 
if thou dost advance but one step, I will send this 
shaft into thy heart. Thou hast made our master 
angry enough, keeping him waiting these hours for 


your company to dine with him, without adding in- 
sult to his messengers." 

" Who is thy master," said the foremost monk, " that 
sends his men to summon us so uncourteously to a 

" His name is Robin Hood the best man that ever 
lived," was the reply. 

" He is a bold thief," responded the monk ; " I have 
never heard good of him." 

"You will hear good of him to-day, before thou 
continuest thy journey," said Little John. 

" Tell Robin Hood the monks of St Mary's refused 
his invitation," the monk exclaimed ; and, with a 
sudden spring, he rode at Little John to knock him 
down ; but Much, being on the alert, fired an arrow 
at him which stuck in his side, and the monk fell from 
his horse with a loud cry. 

Instantly the whole body of followers took to their 
heels and scampered off in different directions. The 
monk was wounded though not killed, and lay in a 
swoon on the ground. Scathelock raised the poor 
fellow up, and drew the arrow from his side. The other 
two ordered the second monk to descend from his horse, 
which he did with considerable alacrity. There re- 
mained of all the train only a little page and a groom, 
and they came up trembling at the call of Little 
John. He directed them to drive the sumpter horses 
into the forest, and wait until he came to them with 
the monks. Much at the same time warned them 
that, if they attempted to mount one of the horses or 
run away, he would pin them with an arrow to the 


nearest tree. The wounded monk, whose side by this 
time Scathelock had bandaged, was then lifted on to 
the back of his horse, where he was supported by the 
other monk, who was told to sit behind him. They 
all marched into the forest as quickly as they could, 
partly in fear of the attendants returning to rescue the 

On reaching the glade, where it was customary for 
the men to bring all newly-arrived guests, Robin met 
the cavalcade, and on seeing the monks he took off 
his hood and made a very polite bow ; but the fore- 
most monk was too faint to return it, and the other 
was too busily engaged holding his brother up to 
have a hand to spare for a compliment. 

Little John assisted both monks to dismount. The 
wounded man was evidently more alarmed than 
seriously hurt, and was able to walk without assis- 
tance. The sumpter horses were led up to Robin, 
who seemed much pleased with the trophies of skill 
his men had brought. 

" How many men had the monks in tneir train ?" 
inquired Robin. 

" Fifty-two," Little John replied ; " but all, save 
these two, fled." 

"They are two brave fellows," said Robin, "to 
stand by their masters, and shall lose nothing through 

" Shall I summon the band ?" said Little John ; "it 
were as well to shew the monks what a brave lot we 

Robin blew a loud blast himself, and soon there 


came, from three opposite directions, fifty men all 
dressed in green, who bowed to Robin and asked his 
good pleasure. 

"Your company is desired to dinner," was the reply, 
at which the men laughed. 

When they sat down to dinner, the places of honour 
were given to the two monks, upon whom Robin and 
Little John waited. Dinner finished, Robin ques- 
tioned them as to what abbey they came from. 

" We are from the Abbey of Saint Mary at York," 
replied one of the men. 

" You are thrice welcome," responded Robin, " for 
I have had dealings with Saint Mary, and do not doubt 
but that you have come to pay the bond." 

Said the chief monk, " I have never heard of a bond 
between Saint Mary and thee." 

" Thou art much to blame then," said Robin, " fof 
so good a saint would never have kept back the know- 
ledge of my bond from those who were really her 
servants, as thou pretendest to be. Didst thou not 
say thou wert her servant ?" 

" Ay !" said the monk ; "we serve her in the abbey ; 
but in our books thy name has never stood as her. 

'' I vow that I speak the truth ; and I feel assured 
that you have been sent to pay the money she 
borrowed from me through a poor knight." Robin 
continued, pointing to the saddle bags, " What money 
is therein?" 

"Twenty marks, spending money," the monk 


"If there be no more," said Robin, "I will not 
touch a penny ; and if ye have need of any I will 
lend ye some ; but if I find more, never a penny will 
I leave." 

By Robin's directions, Little John unloosed the 
bags from the horses of the Monks, but in doing so, 
found they were so heavy that he could not carry 
them himself. 

The monks protested against the proceeding, de- 
claring that it was a sacrilege to rob them of their 
money, and that Mary would surely visit them with 
sore plagues and evils if they dared to touch her pro- 

Robin and all the men laughed at the monks' 
words, and felt sure that the bags would repay the 

Those on the sumpter horses were next unfastened 
and piled in a heap on the grass. On investigating 
the contents of such of the bags as Little John 
selected, to the joy of the whole assembly with two 
exceptions only a sum of 800 in gold was counted 

On seeing the money Robin turned to the monk, 
who had affirmed that they only had twenty marks, 
and said, 

"Thou seest that Mary has no confidence in 
thee, and she sends me the money she borrowed, 
twice told, and without thy knowledge. I have no 
patience with ye," he added ; " ye are false knaves 
and not true men. It would serve ye both right 
to hang ye to yonder tree." 


"Hang them, hang them!" shouted a number of 
Robin's men. 

The two monks appeared anything but happy at 
the feeling excited against them. They immediately 
fell on their knees before Robin, and begged hard 
that he would spare their lives that time, and they 
would never attempt to deceive any more. 

Upon this, Robin questioned them as to how they 
became possessed of the money, and how the income 
of the abbey was derived, with other particulars. 

The monks stated that they had been visiting some 
of the manors belonging to the abbey, the tenants of 
which had been behind with their rents, and from 
whom they had levied the money found in the saddle- 

After having ransacked the whole of their baggage, 
Robin gave them leave to depart, but insisted that 
they should only take two horses with them. Upon 
one horse he mounted the two monks, and upon the 
other the page and the groom. To the latter he gave 
a pound each, as a reward for their faithfulness in 
remaining by their masters, when the more cowardly 
had forsaken them. 


Sir Richard raises the Money borrowed from Robin Hood His Jour- 
ney delayed by a Wrestling Match Bucket leads a force into the 

j]IR RICHARD of the Lea, having released 
his lands from the clutches of Abbot 
Cantwell, set himself to work very dili- 
gently to raise the sum of money bor^ 
rowed from Robin Hood, against the day that pay- 
ment became due. The tenants were very thankful 
at still having their old landlord, and at his being 
free from his entanglements with the abbot ; and, as 
there was a very plentiful harvest, they were able to 
raise in the course of the year a sum of money suffi- 
cient to meet all their landlord's requirements. 

Several weeks before the expiration of the time, 
the knight ordered a hundred bows and arrows to be 
manufactured specially, as a present for Robin Hood. 
The bows were to be made of the very best material, 


properly seasoned, and strung in the most approved 
manner. Quivers were also ordered, which were to 
be carved in a quaint style ; and the arrows were to 
be mounted with silver, and furnished with peacocks* 
feathers. Such a beautiful set of bows and arrows 
had never before been manufactured in Nottingham. 
He also ordered a hundred suits of white and red 
cloth to be made for men who were to accompany 
him. The knight himself carried in his hand a spear 
of elaborate workmanship ; by his side walked a 
man, who led a horse, on which were two bags con- 
taining the money he had borrowed. Each of his 
men carried a bow and quiver. On the morning of 
the appointed day, he left his castle very early, in 
order to meet Robin in good time ; but, as the majo- 
rity of the men had to walk, their progress was much 
retarded. Some of them, who were cunning singers, 
beguiled the way with their favourite songs, the 
whole body joining in chorus ; and so, right merrily, 
they went their way. 

In passing through 'the village of Mansfield, they 
found that a great wrestling match was being held. 
There was an immense crowd assembled, and, from 
the riotous proceedings, the knight feared that some- 
thing wrong was taking place. 

On making inquiries, they learnt that a prize had 
been offered for the best wrestler, which was of no 
ordinary value, being nothing less than a very fine 
horse, with saddle and bridle ornamented with gold/f 
Two other prizes, in keeping with the first, were 
given, the second being a white bull ; and the third. 


a pair of marvellously-worked gloves, a gold ring, 
and a pipe of wine. 

He who won the first prize was to be the cham- 
pion of the forest. The value of the prizes had 
drawn together all the most famous wrestlers that 
were known. The whole morning the wrestling had 
been going on, and considerable excitement had been 
created by a young man, unknown to any present, 
who had thrown all the old wrestlers. This was the 
cause of the tumult which prevailed on the arrival of 
the knight, who found the young stranger beset on 
all sides, and in danger of his life. Scores of people 
were crowding round a centre, where the old 
wrestlers had seized the poor fellow, and were about 
to drag him to the bridge to throw him into the river. 

The knight, followed by his men, immediately 
forced his horse into the very midst of the throng, 
waving his spear in a menacing manner. His men 
thrust aside those who elbowed them, and threatened 
to shoot the first who attempted to stop their pro- 

The people fell back before the horse and so strong 
a body of men, and called out to form a ring, that 
they might hear what the knight had to say. 

This was speedily done, and the knight, taking 
advantage of his opportunity, rebuked them for their 
want of fair play. He said a stranger was as much 
entitled to take part in the contest as the oldest 
amongst them. No one said a word against the 
young man, and loud shouts of approbation greeted 
the knight's words. u 


Cries then rose for the knight to stop and decide 
who was the stoutest wrestler ; and the proposal was 
received with such tumultuous shouts of applause, that 
he was obliged to remain and adjudge the prizes. 

In this way several precious hours elapsed, and the 
afternoon was far advanced before the games were 
ended. To the joy of the knight and his men, when 
the contest was fairly renewed, the young stranger, 
whom they had saved from violence, was still the 
strongest and most skilful wrestler amongst the 
whole company, and threw every opponent who 
came to measure strength with him. There was no 
mistake about the matter ; and when the knight did 
at length proclaim him the winner of the first prize, 
loud shouts, which signified the approval of the spec- 
tators, greeted the announcement. The remaining 
prizes were awarded with like satisfactory result to 
the wrestlers and the public. After the prizes were 
all awarded, the knight purchased the wine from the 
man to whom he had awarded it, and ordered that 
every one who chose should drink. The young 
stranger mounted his horse, and rode rapidly out of 
the village; but not forgetting to thank the knight 
very warmly for his interference in behalf of justice. 

It was so late in the afternoon when the wrestling 
match was concluded that the knight was afraid 
Robin would regard him in the light of a defaulter. 
He therefore lost no time in resuming his journey, 
now that his services were no longer required. 

But the young stranger was on the road before 
him, making the best of his way to the Greenwood 


Glade, to present his prize to Robin, and inform him 
of the coming of the knight. He was none other than 
Will Gamewell, who had gone secretly to the match, 
to try his skill in the games of the day. No one had 
been more surprised than himself, to find that he was 
able to pitch all who came ; and he would have 
carried off the first prize before the knight's arrival, 
had the people only shewn him fair play. Will arrived 
just after the monks had taken their departure, and 
was astonished to find seven good horses grazing in 
the glade, and an immense pile of gold on a mantle. 

"Hallo!" shouted Robin, as soon as he caught 
sight of his cousin ; " hast thou been robbing some 
baron's stable, that thou comest on horseback ?" 

Little John examined the rich mountings of the 
saddle and bridle, and estimated their worth. 

Will told his tale very quickly, and, leading the 
horse up to Robin, asked him to accept it, in token 
of his respect. He then related how the knight was 
coming, attended with a train of richly-dressed fol- 

Robin sent out several of his men to meet the 
knight, and bring him in with all due honour, which 
was accordingly done. As soon as they had entered 
the glade, the knight formed them into line, and, 
advancing at their head to where Robin sat, each 
man made him a profound bow, and then put 
down before Robin the bow and quiver of arrows 
which he carried. After this, the knight directed 
two of his men to unfasten his saddle-bags. 

"What are you about there?" inquired Robin. 


" I am about to liquidate the only debt I owe in 
the world," replied the knight, " yet a debt that will 
never be cancelled." 

Robin reminded the knight that the morning was 
the appointed time for the repayment of the debt, 
which was to have been followed by a dinner ; and 
he informed the knight that when he did not turn up 
at the proper time, his bond sent two of her monks 
with double the amount of money he had borrowed, 
to redeem her credit. 

The knight's countenance fell at hearing this. 

" I know I have not kept my word to the letter," 
said he, " but I should have been here many hour* 
ago, had I not stopped at Mansfield to assist a young 
man who was beset by knaves." 

" Your journey was well delayed," Robin said, " and 
I have something to give thee for thy pains." 

Robin pointed to the horse that Will had won, and 
asked the knight whether he recognised it. 

" It is the same horse," the knight exclaimed, 
" which the young man won." 

He appeared to be much puzzled at the sight of it, 
and scanned the faces of those by whom he was sur- 
rounded, as though to discover the young stranger he 
had befriended. 

Robin called Will, who immediately came fonvard, 
and, kneeling before the knight, thanked him again for 
the assistance he had rendered him in an hour of need. 

" Thou art a brave fellow," Sir Richard said, " and 
didst well deserve all that I did for thee." 

"And thou dost well deserve at our hands, Sir 


Richard/' said Robin. Then turning to the members 
of his band, he added, " What say you, my brave fel- 
lows, shall we reward him ?" 

A loud shout was the response. 

" Little John," said Robin, " go to my treasury and 
tell out the 400 which the monks paid over and 
above what was borrowed." 

While Little John was doing this, Marian and Ellen 
brought Sir Richard vessels filled with fresh water, 
wherewith to wash. His men were directed to help 
themselves to what viands remained. There was 
ample store to feed treble the number that had come. 

Robin excused the want of better entertainment, by 
telling them that guests that did not come when they 
were expected, must be content with what was left. 
The men laughed at this, and lost no time in falling 
to upon the meats that were set before them. Alan 
and Marian, assisted by others, waited upon their new 
guests in the most accomplished forest fashion. Friar 
Tuck acted as butler, and directed certain barrels of 
forest-brewed ale to be rolled out from the stores. 
Several bottles of choice wine were also uncorked for 
the special use of the knight. The men's appetites 
had been sharpened by their long walk; so they did 
ample justice to what was before them, and drank 
with much enthusiasm success to the forest rovers, 
long life to the ladies, and confusion to all Robin 
Hood's enemies. 

Little John counted out the 400 as directed, and 
after putting it up in two bags, fastened these to the 
saddle of the knight's hone. 


Robin told Sir Richard to use the money to reward 
those who had been true to him, and to purchase new 
liveries for his men; nor to suffer any stint in his 
household. He also made the knight promise that, 
when he wanted more, he would come and ask for it ; 
" for," said Robin, " the loan which thou hadst was 
the best that man ever made." 

The knight, overcome with Robin's generosity, 
urged many objections against taking so large a sum; 
but, backed by the approving voice of his men, Robin 
made Sir Richard accept the money. 

"There is one thing," the knight said, "I may per- 
haps be able to do some day. My castle is near Not- 
tingham, and as thou often visitest the town on dan- 
gerous enterprises, who knows but what, hard pressed 
by thine enemies, thou mayest find my castle an 
acceptable refuge ; and be sure of this, that my gates 
will never be opened with more gladness to welcome 
visitor than they will to give shelter and succour to 
thee or any of thy brave band." 

At this Robin Hood's men shouted, " Bravo !" 
" Well spoken." " Brave fellow." 

" There is another thing to be said," observed a man 
who rose from amongst the number of the knight's 
followers, " that as for us there is not one but would 
be glad to remain with Robin Hood in the forest ; but 
if that cannot be, whenever wanted, if only called 
upon, we'll be forthcoming." 

The rest of the men signified their concurrence by 
waving their hands and shouting. 

"I thank you all," Robin replied; "if you lived 


here, we should eat up the forest too soon ; but the 
time may come, and that ere long, when I shall be 
glad of your services ; and know this for a certainty, 
that, relying on your assistance in case of need, we shall 
have no fear in taking up our bows for the defence of 
those who are oppressed." 

The very best feeling was thus established between 
the men. When they prepared to depart, Robin 
noticed that they were without weapons of any sort. 

" This will never do," he said ; " for who knows 
what may happen to you before you leave the forest. 
You have brought us a set of bows and arrows, the 
like of which we have never seen before, and it would 
be an ill return on our part if we were to allow you to 
go without even a stave to defend yourselves with." 

Sir Richard protested that they were not at all 
afraid of meeting with any body of men in the forest ; 
but Robin insisted that they should have quarterstaves. 
Much and Scathelock accordingly brought out a large 
stock of well-seasoned staves, which Robin's men had 
cut as they had opportunity in the forest. Each of 
Sir Richard's men armed himself with one of these 
weapons, and then they departed, full of delight at the 
meeting they had had with the noted forest rover. 

While Robin was entertaining these guests, an en- 
tertainment of a very different sort was being prepared 
for some of them in Nottingham. The retainers of 
the monks, on getting clear of the three forest rovers, 
made the best of their way to Nottingham, where 
they raised a great outcry on behalf of the monks. 
They wanted a force to go into the forest to capture 


the three wretches who had slain the monks, as they 
believed and declared. The sight of a number of men 
racing through the streets of the town drew after them 
a considerable concourse of people, in whose ears 
rumours of wars had long been current, and who in- 
vested the new story told them by the fugitives with 
all the importance of an intended attack upon the town. 

The fugitives and the townspeople crowded the 
sheriff's yard. The sheriff himself came out in alarm, 
followed by Dame Gammer and Bucket. Several 
men spoke at once, and all told different stories about 
the attack made upon the monks ; though all agreed 
in stating that there were only three forest rovers who 
had committed the mischief. 

" Why," said the sheriff, " surely there were enough 
of you to take and eat them," 

"O! O!" exclaimed the Abbey men; "but we 
were not armed, and they might have shot us all at a 

They wanted the sheriff's permission to take a force 
for the rescue of the remains of the monks, and to 
punish the offenders. The sheriff, on hearing their 
story, guessed very readily whose men had been at 
work, and was unwilling to risk his own person in 
such an enterprise. He granted the request of the 
men, and ordered the bells to be rung to summon 
the trained bands, so as to get volunteers for the ex- 

In a short time the alarm bells were ringing, and 
the people thronged the market-square, where the 
crier announced that the sheriff required the trained 


companies to go out to Sherwood forest to punish 
three men who had killed two monks, and also to 
bring in the bodies of the deceased. 

"Be it known unto you all," shouted the crier, "that 
the sheriff of this city doth order and require that 
the loyal companies of butchers, bakers, cooks, and 
weavers, do instantly prepare to accompany the men 
of St Mary's Abbey into Sherwood forest, on a mis- 
sion of mercy and no danger; therefore the sheriff 
doth require that you come armed in no other wise 
than with oak staves, lest any of you by accident 
become lamed on the way through any falling out 
amongst yourselves." 

The sheriff's order was repeated from mouth to 
mouth, and the members of the said companies made 
themselves ready without delay. The place of rendez- 
vous was the market-square, and thither they soon 
repaired, and fell into the ranks of their respective 

The butchers came up, headed by a number of ap- 
prentices, playing the national anthem of the period 
on marrow bones and cleavers ; and, by the express 
permission of the sheriff, this band was allowed to ac- 
company the expedition into the forest. 

Next came the cooks, each man armed with a good 
oak staff, fashioned more like a spit than anything 
else ; and with these they boasted they would put to 
flight any army. 

The weavers came, armed with staves of all sizes. 

They all fell into good order in the market-place 
preparatory to setting forth. 


A question then arose amongst the Abbey men as 
to who should be the leader of the party. 

The sheriff had the honour offered him ; but de- 
clined on the ground of urgent state business requir- 
ing his attention. 

Bucket, who was standing near, hearing the refusal, 
in a fit of loyal enthusiasm, offered his services, which 
were instantly accepted. The sheriff made no opposi- 
tion, and the butler proceeded to array himself in 
suitable apparel. On his head he placed a broken 
iron pot, which fitted his pate like a helmet. On his 
breast he buckled a stiff leathern shield ; and in his 
hand he carried a baton as the symbol of his office. 
He did not neglect other equally weighty matters 
and in his pockets stuffed bottles of wine for the 
refreshment of his own particular self during the 
day. He was mounted on one of the best horses 
in his master's stable; and rode along the proudest 
man in all Nottingham. 

On his appearance in the square, the butchers' band 
struck up the air that, in those early days, did duty 
for " See the conquering hero comes ! " The people 
shouted, and the trained bands waved their weapons, 
as Bucket rode round the square several times to see 
if all were ready. 

He then gave the order to march, and taking the 
lead, proceeded along the streets to the nearest gate. 

The walls of the town were crowded to see the 
cavalcade pass out, and loud cheers greeted them as 
they went under the gate, and out into the high-road. 
in the direction of the forest. 


Nearly two hundred men sallied forth in this way to 
do battle on behalf of the king, the sheriff, and the 
monks of St Mary's Abbey. The music which, if 
noise were a merit, certainly possessed it ceased as 
soon as they entered the forest. The butler gave the 
command, " March easy," and immediately the men, 
who had been going in something like order, straggled 
out of the ranks, and sauntered about in groups, 
shouting, singing songs, or telling wonderful stories 
of adventures. 

After a few miles had been thus traversed, some of 
them began to lag behind ; and, the day being hot, 
lay down on the banks, or under the shade of trees, 
to rest, where they quickly dropped asleep. The 
force thinned at a rate that would, perhaps, have 
alarmed Bucket had he been conscious of it. He, 
nowever, had been taking care of himself while riding 
at the head of the men, and had skilfully abstracted 
the bottles of wine, one after the other, from his 
pockets. When he had released the bottle, he would 
ride forward at a furious rate, as though to reconnoitre, 
and, throwing his head back, would drain the con- 
tents of the bottle. The effect of this indulgence was 
greater than Bucket anticipated. He became more 
and more demonstrative in his proceedings, rode for- 
ward at a violent rate for a considerable distance, and 
then just as swiftly returned, all the while vociferating 
orders as if the enemy was in view. He rode from 
side to side, and conjured the trees to aid him in his 
lawful endeavour to stop such sinful practices as those 
from which the monks had suffered ; and not to hide 


from righteous punishment the persons of whom they 
were in search. During these frantic movements, 
Bucket's iron head-gear gradually slipped on to the 
back of his head, and made him look uncommonly 

The number of stragglers increased to a very great 
extent ; and at length the whole of the butchers' band, 
by private arrangement, slipped to the rear, and then 
quietly sidled off amongst the trees, where, as soon as 
they thought Bucket and those with him were out of 
hearing, they set up such a concert as frightened all 
the birds and beasts of the forest away in hot haste. 

The. sound of horses' feet was at last heard, and 
Bucket discovered the presence of the enemy, as he 
imagined them. Waving his baton, he exclaimed, in 
a loud voice, 

" They are here ! they are here ! pre pare to 
attack !" 

There was a sudden alarm amongst those who re- 
mained with him, and instead of forming into anything 
like line of battle, they crowded together like a herd 
of frightened sheep in the centre of the road, and but 
few displayed their weapons. 

In a few minutes the cause of all this alarm pre- 
sented itself in the appearance of the two monks and 
their attendants. On coming in sight of the crowd 
in the roadway, the wounded monk, who rode in front 
of his companion, gave a loud grunt of alarm, and fell 
back fainting into the arms of his brother. 

Bucket, on seeing the men, rode behind his di- 
minshed army and shouted loudlyi 


" At them, men, at them ! bring them down, and 
let me bind them !" 

The men, however, were too startled to stir. The 
retainers of the abbey, who formed the kernel of the 
crowd, fancied they saw a ghost in the person of the 
foremost monk, and could not move. The crowd 
generally had the idea that there were only three men 
against whom they were sent, so that the presence of 
the fourth man perplexed them very much. They 
were all on horseback too, and this was not what had 
been expected. 

The shouts of Bucket at length revived the monk 
who had fainted, and he called out that they were 
only two poor monks who had been robbed of all 
their money and wounded. 

The abbey retainers recognised the voices of theii 
masters. There could be no further doubt that they 
were human, so they at last advanced to render what 
assistance they could. The groom and page were 
each surrounded with a crowd of eager men anxious 
to know what had happened in the forest. When the 
story was fully told, a sort of panic appeared to seize 
the members of the Nottingham trained bands, and 
the majority refused to go any further in search of 
those who had robbed the monks and stolen all the 

Bucket, however, was determined that he would 
proceed ; and, by promising all sorts of rewards, he 
persuaded upwards of eighty to go with him a little 
further in quest of the notable robbers. The monks 
dismounted, and were to remain in the same place 


until the return of the whole party. The brave men 
under Bucket immediately resumed their march, little 
thinking what was in store for them. Bucket was in 
a state of happy ignorance of the demoralised condi- 
tion of his band, or he would never have proposed a 
second enterprise to them. He rode ahead and back 
again, just as before ; but on one of these excursions 
he saw a sight that almost sobered him. In the 
middle of the roadway, coming towards him, was a 
body of men, dressed in white and red, led by one 
riding on a beautiful horse. Each man carried a 
long staff upon his shoulder. They advanced steadily, 
but silently. Back rode Bucket, and, getting his men 
in front of him, he called out to form in line to re- 
ceive the enemy. The line was formed across the 
road, while Bucket kept still in the rear. 

The enemy was no other than Sir Richard and his 
friends, returning from their entertainment in the 
forest. When they came in sight of each other, the 
astonishment of both parties was very great Bucket's 
line wavered considerably ; but, as he rode from one 
side of the road to the other, the men were afraid of 
stirring, for fear of being trampled under the feet of 
his horse. 

The knight rode slowly on ; but when he came up 
to where the line was spread so threateningly across 
the road he stopped. So far as numbers were con- 
cerned, Bucket had a decided advantage; but the 
knight's men, though fewer, were in better trim for 

Sir Richard watched BnrJcet for a few minutes, as 


he rode like a madman across the road, shouting 
words wholly unintelligible; and then the knight 
called out to know what they meant by obstructing 
the king's road in that manner. 

Bucket made a long speech in reply. He said, " I 
am the Sheriff of Nottingham, or acting in his name, 
and with his authority, though I am only Bucket the 
butler, in fact, but it is no matter. I have come here 
to take thee and all thy men prisoners, though we 
only expected to 'meet three. It is no matter though, 
for we shall take all bound to Nottingham ; and if, 
by some evil chance, any escape hanging, it will be a 
pity, and no fault of mine." 

" Madman," exclaimed Sir Richard, " discharge 
thy force instantly, or we will baste their hides 

"Down with him!" shouted Bucket, "down with 
him ! he opposes the king's authority, and the good 
Sheriff of Nottingham." 

As he spoke, he pointed with his baton to Sir 
Richard, but no one stirred. In a fit of desperation, 
he spurred his horse through their ranks, knocking 
five or six of his own men down, and advanced with 
a threatening manner towards the knight. Raising 
his baton in his hand, Bucket made as though he 
would have hit the knight on his head ; but a blow 
on the ribs from Sir Richard's spear sent him head 
first over the horse's tail, amid the laughter of the men ; 

" Forward !" exclaimed the knight to his followers, 
" and shew these Nottingham knaves what they get 
by molesting honest people on the highway." 


With a loud shout his men instantly darted for- 
ward, waving their staves in the air, and the next 
moment, if Bucket's force had felt inclined to run, 
they found themselves unable, for they were in such 
close quarters that most of them found a man for his 
match, and blows were exchanged in right good 
earnest. Knocks seemed to revive the spirits of all, 
for Bucket's men, when fairly engaged, struck out 
manfully. Some were laid sprawling on their backs, 
and many a crown was cracked under the severe 
blows inflicted by the oak staves which Sir Richard's 
men carried. Disdaining to take advantage of his 
position on horseback, after the ignominious defeat of 
Bucket, he sat still and looked on, encouraging his 
men by word of mouth. Though Bucket's adherents 
were the most numerous, it was evident to the knight 
that they had no chance against his. Little heaps 
soon dotted the ground, not of killed, but men with 
sore wounds, that bled much. All the while Bucket, . 
happily unconscious of what was going on, lay where 
he fell, his horse standing quietly by his side. He 
had been partially stunned by his fall, but was much 
more stupified with drink, and was fast asleep when 
the battle waged at its height. 

After fighting for some time, there came a sharp 
cry for " Quarter!" on many sides ; and Bucket's men 
dropped on their knees, and begged for mercy at the 
hands of their opponents. 

By Sir Richard's directions his force ceased ; and 
then he found that, though many of them had met 
with severe bruises, none of them were seriously hurt. 


When the cessation of hostilities took place, 
Bucket's men declared that they had not come out 
expecting to meet such a force as they had encoun- 
tered. They helped one another with good-will to 
bind up arms and heads, and cleanse the blood from 
faces ; after which, some who had escaped from 
bruises turned their attention to Bucket. They 
found him, to their surprise, snoring away. There 
was no blood upon him, or mark of any wound, so he 
was roughly shaken until roused, and then they 
found him so drunk as to be incapable of standing 
without help. With much difficulty he was raised to 
the saddle again, and two men on each side held 
him up. Then they returned together to the place 
where the monks and the rest awaited them. Mutual 
explanations followed, and the monks acquitted the 
knight of any intentional wrong done to the party. 
Sir Richard took his leave before the monks and 
Bucket were ready to start, and pushed on with some 
haste to his castle. 


Bucket's Return to Nottingham Robin resolves to sell his Plate The 
Sheriff is invited to Lea Castle, and buys his own Plate The Dis 
covery of the Fraud The Sheriff attempts to capture Lea Castle. 

N parting from Bucket and the monks, Sir 
Richard made the best of his way home, 
and a very merry evening was spent in 
relating to his wife and family the man- 
ner in which his return had been ^delayed, by the en- 
counter with the sheriff's men from Nottingham. 

The monks and Bucket, with all their host, having 
rested for some time, at length commenced their home- 
ward march, but by no means in the same happy frame 
of mind they had set out. On their way they picked 
up one and another of the groups of stragglers from 
whom they had parted in the course of their progress 
in the morning ; and at last the butchers' band 
dropped in, having exhausted all their strength in a 
miserable attempt to keep themselves and the forest 


lively with their music. As they received new acces- 
sions of strength, those who had been in the affray 
told magnified stories of their encounter with the knight 
and his men, until the narrators and the hearers began 
to believe that a most bloody battle had been fought 
with a force very much superior to them in point of 
numbers. Bucket did not ride at the head of the men 
as in the morning, but lingered on his way, giving 
those in immediate attendance upon him full employ- 
ment to keep him on his seat. His remarkable un- 
steadiness was attributed to the terrific fall which he 
had had ; and, as if to keep up the deception, a cloth 
covered with blood was bound round his head in place 
of the iron helmet which he wore when they first 
started. Those who had received wounds in the 
encounter made the most of them in the way of 

They re-entered Nottingham late at night. Their 
return had been very anxiously expected, and when 
the time came for the gates to be closed and the force 
had not returned, great fears were entertained for 
their safety. When they came within sounding dis- 
tance of Nottingham, the butchers' band struck up 
their discordant music, and the walls and streets soon 
became crowded to see the victors enter with their 

In the moonlight the monks, who rode on horse- 
back, were mistaken for two of the supposed pri- 
soners, and loud shouts greeted the warriors. These 
were all changed to surprise and horror when the 
wounded monk was seen to be supported by a 


brother, and Bucket was discovered to require 
similar assistance to maintain his seat, and many 
of the men were seen to have bandaged heads, or 
their arms in slings, while not a few had turned two 
oak staves into crutches, and were hobbling along 
with their aid. 

The sheriff was amongst those who had come out 
to welcome the band home, and when he saw Bucket, 
could hardly forbear laughing at his appearance. 
In a moment the sheriff divined who the real robbers 
were that had beaten the monks and stolen their 
money, but he falsely conjectured that the same force 
had met with Bucket and his men. 

The monks and their retainers were received into 
some of the abbeys for the night, while the sheriff 
dismissed the trained bands with the thanks of the 
king for their services. The people repaired to their 
houses, to discuss with friends and neighbours the 
events of the day. 

Bucket was taken home, and helped to dismount 
in the yard ; all his attendants were dismissed, and 
the gates of the yard closed. Then, by the sheriff's 
directions, Bucket was led to the pump, and copious 
streams of water sent over him, which brought him 
to himself in a very speedy manner. He was then 
taken into the house, and Dame Gammer brought 
some sticking-plaster to doctor his head ; but, on an 
examination of his pate being made, to the surprise 
and amusement of all in the house, there was not 
even a scratch to be found. There was a bump, 
hard and round at the back, but whether it was a 


gift of Providence or grace it was impossible to tell. 
He was sent to bed half sobered, and left to sleep off 
the effects of his chivalrous attempt to capture three 
notable robbers. 

During the night the cook, whose name was Pots, 
and who was successor to Firepan, was kept awake 
by hearing orders shouted out at the top of Bucket's 
voice, which seemed to indicate that he was fighting 
over again in his dreams the battle of the day. This 
was anything but pleasant to Pots, who was a man of 
very nervous temperament. 

In the course of the following morning a deputa- 
tion of brethren from several of the leading abbeys, 
accompanied by the monk who had not been 
wounded, waited upon the sheriff, to lay before him 
a statement of the wrongs to which one of their 
number had been subjected. They urged that an 
expedition should be got up at once to scour the 
forest, and capture Robin Hood and all his band, 
upon whom they desired immediate execution should 
be done. 

The sheriff listened in silence to all that was 
advanced, but told them frankly it was impossible 
for him at that particular time, when they wanted 
all the force they could get in Nottingham, to send a 
special expedition into the forest. Besides, he wanted 
to know whether the abbeys were prepared to pay 
'Ihe costs of such an expedition ; because if they 
would not, unless he had the special authority of 
Prince John, the new Earl of Nottingham, he dared 
not comply with their request. 


The members of the deputation urged that the 
prince should be informed of what had taken place, 
and a request forwarded that his trained soldiers 
should be sent on the service. They insisted that it 
was of the utmost wellbeing to all the abbeys in the 
land that a stop should be put to such depredations. 
The sheriff promised that he would lay the complaint 
before the prince when he arrived, and if he chose to 
send out one or more detachments to capture the 
forest rovers, he would gladly render all the assist- 
ance that lay in his power. With this the monks 
withdrew satisfied. 

Robin little thought what a formal and serious 
deputation had been waiting upon the sheriff, and 
was rather alarmed when his scouts brought him 
word. He vowed he would spare no monks in future 
that came across his path, but would take everything 
they possessed. 

His band was now constantly on the increase, and 
the new-comers found the forest-life just as attractive 
as did the leaders themselves. Some of them he 
suffered to remain with him, and others he placed 
\mder the orders of his scouts in the villages border- 
ing on the forest. 

For several days after Firepan's arrival, he took 
upon himself the task of cleaning the sheriff's plate. 
It was used on several occasions for dinner, but 
many of the band declaring they preferred eating 
in their old way, the use of the plate was discon- 
tinued. Friar Tuck found his peculiar privileges 
somewhat invaded by the presence of a practical 


cook. For a time he watched the cooking operations 
with much anxiety, as though he doubted whether 
the new cook was up to the mark ; but, finding that 
the meats were done to a better turn than ever they 
had been done before, and that the man was skilful 
in the manufacture of gravies, such as the friar had 
rarely tasted, he resigned, without a grumble, the 
honourable post of cook to Firepan. There was 
another department which the friar still retained the 
superintendence of, and one which, without doing 
him any discredit, it may be affirmed he was much 
better qualified to direct than any other. This was 
the wine and ale department. In the stores of the 
band they had dresses made to fit all sizes, and a 
large stock of bows and arrows. 

The rovers indulged regularly in games of skill, 
teaching their new hands the most approved move- 
ments in wrestling, shooting, or the use of the quar- 

Looking over the stock one day, Robin resolved, 
on the cook's recommendation, to dispose of his 
plate, as it was only becoming deteriorated by being 
kept. The difficulty was how they were to dispose 
of it. They knew it was no use taking it to any of 
the abbeys, because they paid so little for plate. At 
length, Much suggested that they should send it to 
Lea Castle, and ask Sir Richard to undertake the 
sale. This suggestion was approved by all. Little 
John, half jokingly, suggested that the sheriff should 
have the first offer, as he had the best right to it ; and 
he was quite sure the plate looked so well that the 


sheriff would never recognise it. After some dis- 
cussion this was agreed to. The plate was packed 
up in the most secure manner, and slung in panniers 
on the back of a horse. 

Scathelock and Will were selected to take it to the 
knight's ; and they were directed to tell him all that 
had passed with regard to it. 

On reaching Sir Richard's castle, they blew a loud 
blast upon a horn, which was the signal agreed upon 
between the knight and Robin. In a few minuteg 
they saw a lady at one of the castle windows, and in 
another moment they saw the knight at the gate, 
which four men were working open. The draw- 
bridge was quickly lowered for the admission of the 
strangers with their horse. 

The men were led into the castle, and introduced 
by the knight to his lady and his sons. The box 
containing the plate was carried by the knight's 
men, and placed in the dining-room. Before it was 
opened, the knight insisted that his visitors should 
take some refreshment ; and they all sat down at a 
table laden with the most costly viands. 

" All these good things come from Robin," said the 
knight, " for which and for all his goodness we shall 
never be able to repay him." 

Then suddenly checking himself he rose, and with 
mock solemnity said, " What we are about to receive, 
Robin Hood has had to pay for. So mote it be. Amen." 

Will and Scathelock laughed at the knight's wit; but 
the lady rebuked her husband for his profanity, as she 
called it, though she could not help laughing herself. 


Sir Richard related to his visitors the strange ad- 
venture he had in the forest after parting from Robin 
Hood. When dinner was concluded, the lady retired, 
and Will told Sir Richard the errand on which they 
had come. They drew such a picture of the sheriff's 
covetousness, and told so many droll stories of his 
faithlessness towards Robin and his men, that the 
knight entered heartily into the scheme proposed, and 
declared that nothing would give him greater satis- 
faction than punishing a man who knew so little how 
to keep plighted word. When the box was opened, 
the plate was found to be in a very bad state. It was 
deeply stained from having been kept in a damp 
place, and was quite green. The knight declared that 
the maker of the plate would not have been able to 
recognise it. 

Measures were then discussed for the sale. To 
relieve the knight from any real participation in the 
affair, it was arranged that a letter should first be 
written to the sheriff, which Scathelock, who was the 
only one not known in Nottingham, should convey. 
The following letter was accordingly written : 

" MR SHERIFF, I have a large and valuable collec- 
tion of plate at my castle, which is for sale ; it has been 
brought here from the residence of a friend of mine, 
who is desirous of selling it by private contract, and 
he instructs me to request you to undertake the dis- 
posal of it, on the usual commission. Your servant, 


Lea Castle." 


Dressed in the livery of one of Sir Richard's ser- 
vants, Scathelock went to Nottingham and presented 
the letter at the sheriff's house. The sheriff happened 
to be from home at the time, and Dame Gammer 
could not read. A messenger was accordingly de- 
spatched to bring home the sheriff, and a second was 
ordered to bring in the first monk he chanced to meet 
in the street. Fortunately, both individuals arrived 
at the same time. Scathelock presented his letter, 
the sheriff broke the seal, and then handed it to the 
monk, who, after some little hesitation, read it aloud. 

" A fair castle is this castle of the Lea, Mr Sheriff," 
said the monk ; " and the master thereof hath a good 
cellar of wine; I should like to accompany you." 

Scathelock pressed the monk to return with the 
sheriff; but he refused, saying, the spiritual interests 
of the people of Nottingham required his presence at 

The sheriff consulted his dame on the subject of the 
plate; and, after sundry complainings of bad times 
prepared to visit the castle. It was arranged that 
Pots should accompany him ; and the sheriff placed in 
a bag the sum of .200, which he afterwards consigned 
to the care of his cook, with sundry injunctions that 
he was not for an instant to allow it out of his sight 

The three Gammer, Pots, and Scathelock then 
mounted horses to go to the castle. 

The knight himself received the sheriff, and after 
the usual interchange of compliments, conducted him 
to an entertainment, at which the wine produced fully 
warranted the praises of the monk. After dinner, 


the sheriff was led into the butler's apartments, where, 
in the dim light, the knight hoped the sheriff would 
be unable to identify the plate. There was, however, 
very little fear about it, for the sheriff was in such a 
condition that he would have scarcely recognised his 
wife had he seen her. The plate was drawn out piece 
by piece, and duly examined and tested by the sheriff 
in the fashion suggested to him at the moment. He 
rapped each piece with his knuckles, tried to bend 
them with his fingers, and then held them up between 
his eyes and the light, as though he wanted to look 
through them. Having examined all, he turned to 
Sir Richard and said, " How much ?" 

Said the knight, " My friend has sent messengers 
with the plate, and they will tell you how much he 
wants for it." 

Will and Scathelock immediately stepped forward, 
and Will said, " The plate was valued at ,500, but, 
being in want of money, their master would take 200 
for it." 

" Very cheap," exclaimed the knight ; " a remark- 
ably good bargain, Mr Sheriff; and as you will doubt- 
less have to entertain some members of Prince John's 
suite when he visits Nottingham, if not the prince 
himself, you must feel glad of the opportunity of 
purchasing such an exceedingly good stock of plate, 
and at so reasonable a price." 

The sheriff appeared to be of the same opinion as 
the knight, and turning to Will said, " I '11 buy." 

Holding out his hand, he took hold of Will's, and 
called upon Scathelock to witness the bargain ; where- 


upon Scathelock, in severing the hands, gave the sheriff 
such a blow as made him shout with pain. 

Pots was then directed by the sheriff to count the 
pieces and pack them up in the box. 

" There is one thing I must insist upon," said the 
knight, " that these good men give you a receipt for 
your money." 

" No need in the world," said the sheriff; " I've got 
the plate, and here 's the money," handing over the 
bag to Will ; " so don't trouble about that." 

Will had brought the receipt with him, which was 
immediately produced, and handed to the sheriff up- 
side down. That worthy looked at it for a moment, 
as though he was reading it, then folded it up and put 
it in his pocket. The plate having been duly packed, 
was placed on the back of one of the horses ; and the 
parting word having been spoken, the sheriff mounted 
his horse, and Pots followed, leading his with one 
hand, and keeping the sheriff upright on his horse 
with the other hand. 

The sheriff reached his house in safety, and was 
handed over to the care of the butler, who roused his 
master to partial consciousness by the same appli- 
cation of cold water, to which his master had once 
treated him. 

The following morning Dame Gammer had the box 
of plate brought into the dining-room to be opened. 
The sheriff summoned Bucket to see the display, and 
all were on the tiptoe of expectancy. Having lifted 
out two or three pieces, the butler looked very serious. 
Staring his master full in the face, he uttered two 


words of most unpleasant sound, they were, " Robin 

The sheriff sprang nearly a foot in the air, and 
looked all round. 

There was no one present save Dame Gammer, the 
butler, Pots, and himself. So Gammer looked at the 
butler again, who immediately cried out, in a still 
louder voice, " ROBIN HOOD !" 

Again the sheriff sprang into the air, and then looked 
towards the door and window. 

Dame Gammer screamed, "Where, where?" while 
Bucket, in a most insane way, kept pointing at the 
plate. To relieve the evident alarm of the sheriff and 
his dame, he added, " Greenleaf Firepan the plate," 
and still pointed at the silver articles on the table. 
The unpleasant truth at length began to dawn upon 
the sheriff, and he seized the butler by the arm. Un- 
willing to admit the possibility of his having been so 
duped into his mind, he stared his favourite Bucket in 
the face, and said, with an agitated voice, " No !" The 
butler, however, said "Yes" gravely, and closed his 
lips with the determined air of a man who was quite 

Bucket took up several of the pieces of plate, and 
pointed out to the sheriff some private marks, which 
enabled him to swear to them. There was not a 
piece amongst them but what belonged to the sheriff. 
The sheriff bethought himself of the receipt which 
had been given him, and Pots was despatched for 
another reverend decipherer. The receipt was mean- 
while produced, and examined by the butler in a 


most sagacious manner ; but, as he could not read a 
word of it, he forbore committing himself to an ex- 
pression of opinion. A monk was brought, and the 
receipt handed to him. He immediately read aloud, 
" Received from the Sheriff of Nottingham the 
sum of 150, for plate deposited with Robin Hood for 
safe keeping, by the sheriff's own men." (Signed) 

The sheriff groaned inwardly ; Dame Gammer 
screamed ; Bucket bit his lips ; and Pots dropped on 
his knees, and tremblingly gave thanks for his de- 
liverance from Robin's men. The sheriff next fell 
into a towering rage, and squared his fists at Bucket, 
\vho beat a hasty retreat, after which he fell foul of 
Pots, who, not being quite as active as Bucket, got 
some slight assistance in leaving the room. Nor was 
the sheriff's peace of mind restored until after the lapse 
of several hours, and then, indeed, but partially. He 
had not only been robbed of his plate, but cheated in 
his purchase, as it was evident from the receipt that 
the men would have taken 50 less than they did. 

The sheriff vowed that the knight should be called 
to an instant reckoning for his share in the transac- 
tion, although his mind was in such a muddled state 
that he was by no means sure that Sir Richard had 
taken any part in the sale at all. Summoning a 
number of men, whom he armed with bows, arrows, 
and short swords, he sallied out of Nottingham, de- 
termined to have a short and sharp reckoning with 
Sir Richard of Lea Castle. 

The knight had calculated upon a speedy discovery 


being made ; and as soon as the sheriff left the castle, 
took such measures as he thought most prudent fix 
his own protection. He was not afraid of standing a 
siege for any length of time. His retainers and vassals 
were all at peace with him. He was not involved in 
any disputes with his neighbours ; and he knew that 
he could rely upon their assistance in case of need. 

He had so low an estimate of the skill of the Sheriff 
of Nottingham, that he took no further steps to defend 
himself than a trick would accomplish. He directed 
some of his men to loosen all the planks in the draw- 
bridge in such a way that, when it was lowered into 
its place, the slightest weight would precipitate the 
unlucky walker into the water below. This having 
been done, he ordered a number of buckets to be 
filled with a mixture of flour and water, of the con- 
sistency of paste. These buckets were placed within 
the outer wall of the castle. 

The morning after the sheriff's visit, the drawbridge 
was lowered very carefully, and a sharp look-out was 
kept lest any friends, coming up unawares, should 
suffer that which was not intended for them. Men 
were also stationed in the towers to look-out for the 
coming of the sheriff. 

Noon had hardly passed two hours when the watch- 
men gave the alarm that a force was in the distance 
coming from the direction of Nottingham. Sir 
Richard and several others were quickly with the 
look-out in the tower, and saw, very plainly, a band 
of about twenty men creeping along the edge of the 
forest, half hidden in the shade of the trees. In case 


of a surprise, Sir Richard had taken the precaution to 
arm his men. He stationed a dozen men within the 
outer wall of the castle, armed with spears, but with 
instructions, in the first instance, to make such use of 
the buckets and pasty mixture as they best could 
before the sheriffs men had scrambled out of reach. 
When the force approached near enough to be able 
to discover what was going on about the castle, the 
look-outs were secreted. The sheriff was recognised 
as one of the party ;, but when within a mile of the 
castle, they all suddenly disappeared in the forest. 

The sheriff, believing that his approach had not 
been discovered, had ordered his men to make a 
circuitous sweep, so as to come out of the forest in 
front of the castle gateway. He had devised no 
plan for the attack, but told his men, in general terms, 
that they were to keep well together and use their 
swords unsparingly when they came to close quarters 
with the knight's men. He was determined, he said, 
to drag the knight by his heels, if he refused to walk, 
to Nottingham, there to be tried before the judges for 
aiding and abetting Robin Hood. He relied upon 
taking the castle by surprise. When they had come 
to a point in the forest commanding a good view of 
the castle, they were all delighted to see the draw- 
bridge across the moat and the gate of the castle 
open. He fancied he heard shouts of laughter pro- 
ceeding from the courtyard, and came to a somewhat 
hasty conclusion that they were making merry over 
the money received from him for the plate. He 
ordered his men to creep under cover of the trees to 


the very edge of the forest, and then to bolt across 
the open ground, rush into the castle, seize the knight 
and bind him ; and then he promised to give the 
castle up to them for several hours to plunder. The 
men, believing that there would be no opposition, 
acquiesced in all their leader said. 

They crept to the edge of the forest ; and on a 
signal being given, darted across the open ground 
with their swords in their hands. In a moment they 
were on the bridge, and the next the timbers broke 
beneath their weight, and they fell headlong into the 
moat. Splash, splash went the men, head over heels, 
one on the top of the other, with rough pieces of 
planking between them, or tumbling upon them. 

While they were floundering thus in the moat, a 
dozen men appeared carrying the buckets. They 
walked along some stay timbers of the bridge ; and as 
each man scrambled out of the water, he was soused 
with some of the contents of the bucket. The stuff 
ran down their heads and faces, and over their 

The men in their fright had dropped their swords 
in the moat, and bows, which had been slung across 
their backs, were rendered useless by the water. The 
men were, therefore, helpless in the hands of their 
tormentors. They cut such a peculiar figure, that the 
men who used the buckets were several times in 
danger of losing their footing through laughing ; and 
at last they did tumble their buckets into the moat, 
and were scarcely able to save themselves from slip- 
ping in after them. 


The sheriff was one of the first to reach the bank ; 
and received a full bucket of mixture, which well- 
nigh toppled him back again. He scrambled away, 
however, on his hands and knees, looking like a huge 
white mouse. The men looked as men would look 
that had had a quantity of white batter thrown over 
them ; and, on reaching the bank, had some difficulty 
in clearing their smarting eyes. As soon as they 
were able to see what they were about, they started 
off at a sharp run for the forest. 

The sheriff, being fleet of foot, was the first in the 
race, outstripping all his companions. Some of the 
men seemed bewildered by their fall, and, while rub- 
bing their eyes, ran in the wrong direction, and so 
plunged into the moat again. 

When all were fairly landed, the knight gave orders 
to pursue them for some distance. Mounting with 
three of his men, the horses were spurred over the 
moat at a bound, and the fugitives were chased out 
of the forest into the high-road towards Nottingham. 
The horsemen were armed with spears, but did not 
intend to do more than frighten those who were 
already sufficiently discomfited. In this they were 
quite successful. The men ran as hard as their legs 
could carry them to escape being captured, throwing 
off their bows and quivers, which impeded their 
flight. The chase was kept up until they came 
within sight of the walls of Nottingham, when the 
knight and his men returned. 

Outside the walls, many of the townsfolk were 
enjoying a walk in the cool of the day. These were 


amazed at seeing a number of men, in singular 
coloured garments, pursued by horsemen; and, as 
they drew near, were astonished to recognise the 
sheriff as the leader in the race. The men, not 
having had time to concoct a story, told different 
ones ; but the true version leaked out, and was soon 
known to all the people ; and the sheriff's race in a 
miller's garb, was long talked of and laughed over at 
the Saxon firesides in Nottingham. 


Another Shooting Match at Nottingham Little John is wounded, but 
escapes to Lea Castle The Sheriff demands the Surrender of 
Little John Sir Richard captured by the Sheriff Rescue of the 
Knight by Robin Hood. 

JFTER the events detailed in the last chap- 
ter, many quiet days were enjoyed at the 
castle and in the forest. On May-day, 
1192, Robin's scouts brought word of 
another shooting match which was to be held in 
Nottingham, at which the prize was to be, as on a 
former occasion, a silver arrow with a gold head. 
On discussing the affair, it was determined that the 
whole of Robin's band should accompany him to see 
the sport. Robin selected five, who were the best 
shots, to take part in the match, the rest were to 
mingle with the crowd, and, if occasion required, 
assist the others. The five who were chosen to shoot 
were Little John, Will, Much, Scathelock, and Gil- 
bert. The latter had joined the band in the course 


of the winter, from a love of adventure. He was 
noted for the extreme whiteness of his hands, and 
was known by the name of Gilbert with the White 
Hand. He was an excellent marksman, but could 
not handle a quarterstaff with the skill of his 

The sheriff had no suspicion that Robin would 
have visited him again that year, believing that, after 
so many narrow escapes, he would never venture into 
the town again. So he made no arrangements upon 
this occasion to capture him. He was very much 
astonished, however, when, on coming to the match, 
he saw several whom he strongly suspected must 
belong to Robin's band. 

All the competitors shot once, and Will was the 
only one who had touched the wand that had been 
set up. Robin and his five associates never spoke to 
each other during the contest, but treated each other 
as strangers. The sheriff fancied he had discovered 
amongst these five the form of his old enemy Robin 
Hood ; and, notwithstanding his promises to the con- 
trary, he could not resist the opportunity once more 
afforded him of making him a prisoner. Unobserved, 
as he thought, the sheriff gave orders to one of his 
attendants to call out a number of men, arm them 
with short swords, and return to the match as quickly 
as possible. The sheriff's words, however, had been 
heard by some of Robin's men, and very soon the 
information was communicated from one to the other. 
Meanwhile Robin and the others shot their arrows at 
the wand, and at last Robin was declared the winner. 


A loud shout from the crowd confirmed the award of 
the prize. 

The sheriff, to keep up appearances, summoned the 
crowd to form a circle ; and, after as much delay as 
possible, the arrow was presented. The delay just 
gave time for the arrival of the sheriff's force. As 
Robin turned away, after receiving the prize, the 
sheriff, allowing his zeal to get the better of his dis- 
cretion, seized him by the neck, and called upon 
his men to close around. The moment the sheriff 
seized hold of Robin, he received a buffet on the 
back of his head, which made him instantly let Robin 
go. It was Little John who created this small diver- 
sion at the commencement of the affray. Turning to 
see who dealt the blow, the sheriff recognised the 
face of his old servant, and, laying hold of him by 
the neck, exclaimed, " Thou thief, Greenleaf, I have 
thee now!" 

But the sheriff was too sure of his game. Little 
John, with a sudden twist, wrenched himself from the 
sheriff's grasp, then thrusting his head between that 
worthy's legs, he raised him in the air, and, with a 
strong jerk, pitched him backwards over the heads of 
the people. The people ducked as the sheriff's limbs 
went sprawling about their heads, and many a hard 
blow was received by the quiet onlookers before the 
sheriff came rather roughly in contact with the 

The signal, however, had been given, and the 
sheriff's men, drawing their swords, made towards 
where Robin stood, to capture him. But they were 


outmatched by the forest band, both in numbers and 
skill. The sheriff, on rising to his feet, called out, 
Take Robin to the jail," and then hobbled off as 
fast as he could to the friendly shelter of the nearest 

Robin's men commenced a forward movement, to 
effect their escape. The crowd, remembering a simi- 
lar fight in the same place, gave way quickly, and 
very soon the square was occupied with the two 
forces only. 

Swords were crossed and vigorous blows ex- 
changed ; then the sheriff's men began to give way, 
and were pursued for some distance by Robin's band. 
At the sound of the horn they returned, and then 
made all the haste they could to get out of the 

The sheriff directed a man to have the gates 
closed, but the common people prevented his object 
from being carried out. The porter was in the act of 
shutting the gate when the people came swarming 
up, and, frightened at the threats shouted out, he 
dropped the keys, and ran off to hide himself. 
Amongst the crowd here were two of Robin's men, 
who kept the passage clear for the egress of their 

On Robin's men returning from the pursuit, he 
gave orders to make for the nearest gate without 
delay. The sheriff's men, finding that the forest 
rovers were bent on escaping, armed themselves with 
bows, and fired at them from a distance, but none of 
them received a serious hurt. The shafts were 


returned by the rovers, and many arms and legs were 
pierced. This firing was kept up until Robin's men 
reached the open gate. Before emerging into the 
open country, Robin directed them to fire a parting 
volley, which they did ; but, in the exchange, an 
arrow from one of the sheriff's men lodged itself in 
Little John's left knee, causing him to fall to the 
ground. Four men instantly seized him by the arms, 
and dragged him through the gate, and along the 
open road for some distance. Then they halted, and 
Little John tried to stand, but the wound gave him 
such pain that he would have fallen to the ground 
again had not Will and Robin caught him in their 
arms. They were out of reach of a shaft from the 
walls, but not far enough to be out of all danger. 

As Little John sank upon the ground, looking 
Robin in the face he said, 

" Master, have I served thee well since I have 
known thee?" 

" Yes," answered Robin, somewhat surprised at the 

" Then," said the wounded man, " take your bright 
brown sword and strike off my head ; never let me 
fall alive into the hands of the sheriff of Nottingham." 

" Thou shalt never fall into the sheriff's hands so 
long as I am near thee," said Robin ; " but cheer up, 
man, thou art worth more than the sheriff and all his 
men yet." 

At the same moment a faint shout was heard in 
the direction of the town, and Robin fancied he saw 
a body of men coming through the gate. 


Robin immediately ordered his men to place their 
bows under Little John's body. He was then raised 
upon the shoulders of a dozen stout men, and borne 
off in the direction of the forest as fast as they could 
walk. While these retreated under Robin's direction, 
Will and about a score of others remained where they 
were, to oppose any force that might be sent after them. 
The men who had passed through the gate were 
seen forming outside the walls, and Will immediately 
gave orders to return towards the town, and give them 
a volley or two, for the sake of Little John. When 
they got within distance, they discharged a flight of 
arrows at the sheriff's men, which had an excellent 
effect upon them. They were seen to waver con- 
siderably, and then fairly broke and ran back to the 
shelter of the gate. Will then ordered his men to re- 
treat slowly after Robin. On getting up to him, Will 
found that Little John's wound was a serious one, and 
that it had been resolved to convey him to Lea Castle, 
which was. only a few miles distant. 

On coming within sight of the castle, Robin blew 
a loud shrill blast upon his horn. Sir Richard recog- 
nised the signal, and before the party had reached the 
castle, the drawbridge was lowered, and the knight 
himself was standing ready to welcome his friends. 

Robin told the story of the day's adventure, and 
besought shelter for his favourite follower. The knight 
declared that Little John should be nursed as one of 
his own children. Robin would have left the wounded 
man and retired with his men at once, but Sir Richard 
would not suffer it. 


"You must all remain twelve days at the least/' 
said the knight ; " I will not hear of your return until 
the end of that time." 

" That cannot be," replied Robin ; for there are 
those in the forest" who may be exposed to danger 
while we remain here." 

Said the knight's lady, " Robin knows he is full 
welcome to all this castle can afford. Let him stay or 
let him go as he listeth, he may be sure of this, that 
he is always welcome, and we will take care of Little 
John for his sake." 

Still the knight pressed Robin to stay; and at length 
it was arranged that they should stay one night 

" We should eat you out of your castle, and bring 
a famine upon your house, were we to remain longer," 
said Robin ; " for a hundred men a day, for twelve 
days, is no common entertainment for a king to pro- 

" I have enough," replied the knight, " to outlast a 
long siege, with five times that number of men in the 

" I fear," said Robin, " that your capabilities in that 
respect will ere long be tested ; for if I mistake not 
that promise breaker, the sheriff of Nottingham will 
be here ere long to watch you day and night." 

" The sheriff will meet with a warm reception," 
quoth the knight; " but he has not yet forgotten the 
entertainment we gave him in the moat, and will 
scarcely venture so soon." 

The knight's lady was skilled in the treatment of 
wounds, and all sorts of diseases ; and, while her hus- 


band was Holding Robin in conversation, devoted her 
attention to Little John. She had him conveyed to 
a soft couch, and then examined his knee. The head 
of the arrow had broken off short and remained in 
the wound. She withdrew the broken head without 
much difficulty, and then bathed the knee with water. 
After this, she applied a cooling lotion which she had 
prepared herself; and as soon as she had done, Little 
John fell into a deep slumber. One of her own maids 
was left to watch beside his bed, and the good lady 
left to attend to the wants of her other guests. 

The men had refreshments served in the dining- 
hall, the knight, his lady, and their two sons sitting 
with them at table. When the feast was over, the 
lady's harp was brought and she played, while the 
choruses of her songs were taken up by the bold 
Saxons present 

On the following morning Robin visited Little John, 
and found him refreshed by his night's rest, but very 
weak from loss of blood. Two men were left to wait 
upon him, and the others took their departure with 
Robin for the Greenwood glade, where Marian, Ellen, 
and a few men, were anxiously awaiting their return. 

To the surprise of the knight, Robin's anticipations 
with regard to the sheriff's visit were realised a few 
days after the departure of the forest band. The 
watch on the look out discovered a party of armed 
men coming from the direction of Nottingham. The 
sheriff was plainly seen riding at the head of the force, 
which numbered about two score men. This time the 
knight prepared no trick, but drew up his draw-bridge 


and closed his heavy gates, stationing men on all parts 
of the walls to report what passed amongst the ad- 
vancing force. The sheriff evidently meant mischief 
this time, for he came straight on towards the castle. 
Drawing the men up in two lines in front of the castle, 
he advanced, sounded a parley on a horn, and called 
loudly for the knight. 

Sir Richard, who had been watching his proceed- 
ings through a niche in the gate, immediately ascended 
the castle wall and demanded to know the reason of 
the appearance of an armed band. 

" We are come," said the sheriff, " to demand in 
the name of Prince John that Robin Hood and his 
men, who are now with you in this castle, be imme- 
diately delivered up bound for execution, as the law 

" Robin Hood is not here," the knight replied. " I 
wish he was, for then he would have come out him- 
self and given his own answer. You know he is not 
here, or you would never have ventured with such a 
force to deliver so impertinent a message." 

"Then I demand, in the Prince's name, that you 
instantly open your gates and suffer us to search for 
the men that Robin left behind him." 

" That will I never do," responded the knight 
haughtily ; " I defy you and the prince, too." 

" You are a bold traitor," was the sheriff's response ; 
" you have set the prince at defiance ; the laws of the 
land have been openly violated by you, and the Prince 
shall know of your doings." 

" I will answer to the king for what I have done,** 


replied the knight ; " but not to such traitors as you 
and Prince John." 

The sheriff vowed he would besiege the castle, and 
hang every one within it. 

The knight immediately held up a bucket, and 
made a movement as though he would have thrown 
the contents at the sheriff. 

The sheriff, remembering his former experience, 
gave the knight no opportunity to fulfil his threat, 
but bolted as fast as he could to where his men were 
drawn up. After a short consultation with them, 
they all withdrew to the forest, and returned to Not- 

The sheriff sent messengers to Prince John to 
acquaint him with what had occurred, and asking for 
assistance to besiege the castle. 

Prince John sent a message in reply, stating that 
in a short time he would visit Nottingham, and 
besiege the castle in person. 

Before the return of this messenger from London, 
a change had, however, taken place in the state of 

In the interval, believing that pursuit had dropped, 
the knight resumed his ordinary excursions into the 
forest, hunting or hawking, as had been his wont. This 
the sheriff came to hear, and he laid an ambush to 
capture him. Posting a number of men in the forest, 
the sheriff waited for the appearance of the knight 

One day the knight came, as expected, hawking^ 
with only one attendant. His mind was wholly bent 
upon the sport, when suddenly he found himself sur- 


rounded by a number of armed men. He was seized, 
dragged from his horse, and by the direction of the 
sheriff bound. 

Seeing his enemy well secured, the sheriff declared 
he would hang him like a dog before the jail of Not- 
tingham ; and that Lea Castle and all his lands 
should be confiscated. The knight's hands were tied 
behind his back, to add to the indignity of his cap- 
ture ; and he was forced to walk beside the horse on 
which the sheriff rode. In this manner they entered 
Nottingham, where the sheriff locked the knight up 
in the common jail. 

A few days before this event, Little John, whose 
wounds, under the care of the knight's lady, had been 
quite healed, left the castle for his forest home. Sir 
Richard had laden him with presents for the band, 
and had lent him one of his own horses and several 
attendants to do him honour. There was great joy 
amongst Robin's men at Little John's return, as he 
was a great favourite with all ; and a feast was held, 
to celebrate his re-appearance among them, on the 
very day that the knight was so treacherously cap- 
tured by the Sheriff of Nottingham. 

The sheriff, however, was not destined to keep his 
prisoner long. Intelligence of what had happened 
was quickly borne to the castle by the old huntsman, 
who had accompanied his master to the field. The 
distance from the castle, however, was so great, that 
the sheriff was within sight of Nottingham before the 
huntsman reached the castle, so that instant pursuit 
was useless. 


As soon as Lady Richard heard the intelligence, 
she ordered the fleetest horse in her stable to be got 
ready ; and, accompanied by one of her men as a 
guide, she rode into the forest in search of Robin 
Hood. They were in the midst of their feast when 
she arrived, and were not a little astonished at the 
apparition. The two horses were covered with foam ; 
and, on dismounting, she was so overcome as to be 
unable to speak for several minutes. In a few hurried 
words she at last told them what had happened. 

Robin stamped his feet with rage on hearing the 

"Who will go to the rescue?" he asked. 

Instantly there was raised every hand in the air; 
and with one voice they shouted, " All of us ! all of 

Robin bade them make ready without delay, and 
in a very brief space the whole band, leaving only a 
few behind, were on their way to Nottingham. They 
carried with them their bows and arrows and short 
swords ; but over their dresses they wore the garb of 
beggars. Through the forest they hurried with eager 
steps, each one animated with the determination to 
rescue the knight. 

The sheriff, having lodged his prisoner in the jail, 
gave orders for the erection of the gallows forthwith. 
Then repairing to his house, he ordered the dining- 
room to be made ready and some of the principal 
inhabitants summoned for the purpose of trying the 
offending prisoner. They were all seated together in 
the hall, and the prisoner was before them when the 


messenger arrived from Prince John, acquainting the 
sheriff that he (the Prince) would undertake the 
capture of Sir Richard. This event upset the sheriff's 
arrangements. He was afraid to proceed with the 
trial and punishment of the knight, lest the Prince 
should be angry. 

On being confronted with the sheriff, the knight 
demanded that he should be tried by a properly 
qualified tribunal, and not by base born townsmen. 
The haughty mien assumed by Sir Richard astonished 
the assemblage. The sheriff was obliged at length to 
order the further imprisonment of the knight, until 
the arrival of Prince John. 

The jailer and his assistants immediately proceeded 
to bind the knight's hands behind his back, notwith- 
standing his indignant protests. Fortunately for him- 
self the sheriff did not accompany his prisoner back 
to the jail, but left him to the care of his ruffian 
jailers. Round about the house there had assembled 
a crowd of people to see the knight brought out. 

Robin and his men reached Nottingham during the 
time occupied with what the sheriff called an exami- 
nation of the prisoner. It was evening, and their 
entrance into the town had been unobserved. Pass- 
ing by the jail, they saw the gallows in course of 
erection ; and wondered at the audacity of the sheriff 
in proceeding so far with his evil design. They 
gathered from their conversation with the people that 
Sir Richard was at that time at the house of the 
sheriff. Robin, therefore, despatched two men to 
make sure of the gate of the town ; and with the rest 


loitered about the jail until the prisoner's return. 
The people about the sheriff's house were mostly 
Saxons, whose pity had been excited by hearing of 
the capture of a Saxon knight for assisting Robin 
Hood and his men. The proud bearing of Sir 
Richard had still further won upon their feelings ; 
and loud expressions of indignation at the treatment 
to which he was being subjected were heard by the 
knight as he walked along the streets on his way to 
the jail. 

Sir Richard, however, was not prepared for the 
surprise that Robin had planned. On nearing the 
jail they found a great crowd blocking up the street. 
Seeing the people disinclined to make way, the head 
jailer waved his keys over his head in a threatening 
manner, but the next moment he found himself 
sprawling on his back, and his keys in the hands of 
one in the guise of a beggar. The crowd opened and 
closed again ; but it was only to receive into its heart, 
as it were, the second jailer and the prisoner, who 
Avas held by him. This jailer was seized very roughly 
by the back of his neck, with such a severe pinch as 
made him open his mouth and eyes very wide. The 
fingers that inflicted this punishment were those of 
Little John, who felt that that was a favourable op- 
portunity for paying off a certain grudge he owed 
some one of his many enemies in Nottingham. On 
being seized in this manner, the man let go the rope 
which held and bound the prisoner. 

Sir Richard did not at first recognise his friends, 
until a voice, which he well knew, whispered in his 


ear, "Now, fight for yourself!" and, at the same 
moment, he found his hands free. A sword was 
thrust into his hands, and he very quickly cleared a 
space for himself in the crowd by which he had been 
hemmed in. At first there were some indications of 
resistance on the part of a number of Normans who 
had accompanied the jailers. One of these attempted 
to lay hold of Sir Richard, but a short sharp blow from 
his sword severed three of his fingers ; and the man 
retreated very quickly, holding his bleeding hand in 
the air. 

On letting the rope go, the second jailer quickly 
found himself lying on the top of his fellow, the head 
jailer, and, before either could rise, many a Norman 
was thrown upon them. 

Robin and his friends now found little trouble in 
making their way out of the crowd. The people 
assisted them, and greeted their efforts with loud 
applause ; and when at last they saw Sir Richard and 
Robin Hood start off, followed by a number of their 
men, the very air was filled with shouts of gladness. 
Long before the sheriff heard of the release of the 
knight, the latter and his friends were again in the 
forest on their way to Lea Castle. 

When the intelligence did reach the sheriff, he 
foamed with rage ; and vowed that he would be 
revenged on Robin Hood, notwithstanding his pro- 
mises to the contrary. 

The jailers were in a pretty serious plight, for 
besides being half killed with the squeezing they had 
had, the sheriff fined them in a large sum for not 


taking better care of their charge. To raise the 
requisite sum, the jailers put the screw upon the poor 
prisoners under their control. 

Sir Richard, attended by Robin and his men, 
were on their way to Lea Castle, favoured by a 
glorious moon which bathed the whole forest in its 
soft pale light On nearing the castle they left the 
cover of the forest, and the knight could hardly re- 
strain his emotions as the ivy-mantled towers of his 
castle again burst upon his sight. 

After the departure of Robin, Lady Richard had 
become very uneasy about the safety of her house- 
hold ; and accompanied by Marian returned, while 
the expedition were on their way to Nottingham, and 
anxiously awaited their coming, which it had been 
agreed should be to the castle, not to the glade. 

The warder from the summit of one of the towers 
caught sight of the approaching force, and fancied he 
saw them waving their bows in the air. Lady 
Richard was soon made acquainted with the joyful 
news ; but she could not even distinguish any of 
their forms. Marian's keen eyes discovered the force, 
however, and she confirmed the warder's intelligence 
that they were waving their bows in the air. Soon 
they came nearer, and then a faint shout was heard. 
It was the knight's voice, and his lady, recognising it, 
sank fainting by Marian's side. She quickly re- 
covered, however, and went down to the gate, where, 
in a few moments, she was once more encircled by 
her husband's arms. 

Robin and his men passed into the castle at the 



invitation of Sir Richard ; and a right merry feast 
was set forward for their enjoyment. Far into the 
hours of night was the feast kept up ; and at early 
dawn, Robin and Marian, with their friends, started 
off for their forest home, rejoicing at the great success 
which had attended their hasty summons to assist 
their good friend, Sir Richard of the Lea. 


Robin's Adventure with two Monks A Prayer Meeting in the Forest 
Robin meets with the Curtail Friar The Hounds drive Friar 
Tuck and Firepan into the Tree Robin Contributes towards the 
Release of King Richard. 

jjAID Robin, one morning, " bring me a 
beggar's cloak, for I shall go in search of 
an adventure." 

Quoth Friar Tuck, "you have worn 
beggars' cloaks often, try a friar's gown to-day ; there 
is luck in a friar's gown, though there is no luck in 
meeting a friar often." 

Robin protested that a friar's gown would ill become 
him, that he should betray a cloven foot ; but Much 
and Will chimed in with the Friar's suggestion, and 
Robin at length consented to cover his body with the 
garb of a sober friar. None laughed so heartily as 
Tuck, who further proposed that Robin should sub- 
mit to have his head shaved, to complete the disguise. 
Robin, however, would not consent to that, but drew 
his hood over his head to hide his hair, and started 
forth into the forest. Through the forest he wandered 
with hands crossed over his breast, apparently in deep 


meditation, looking like a seriously disposed friar 
bent on some errand of weighty import to a knight or 
prior. On through the forest he went, straight for 
the high road, where he knew if an adventure was to 
be had, he should meet with one. As he walked 
along the high road, he grasped his crucifix with his 
hands, or told his beads but not with prayers until, 
in this way, he had wandered some three miles. 

To his joy, at length, he met with two lusty priests, 
clad in black, riding by themselves. The men were 
laughing and talking to each other, as though they 
had some merry piece of business in hand ; and Robin 
saw at a glance that their saddle bags were well filled. 
Going up to them in the middle of the road, and 
standing in such a way that they could not help 
stopping, Robin crossed himself, and then criSd, 
" Benedicite ! Holy brethren, cross my hand with a 
small piece of silver, for the sake of our dear Virgin, 
Lady Mary. I have been wandering all this day in 
the high road, and through the forest, and have not 
met a single cottage whereat to get a bit of bread or 
a cup of water ; and never a single passenger have I 
met with until our Lady Virgin blessed me with the 
sight of you." 

As Robin spoke he stood close to the horses' heads, 
and just between the two. One monk, he noticed, 
had a red beard, and the other a black one. 

Said Redbeard to Robin, " By our Holy Virgin, 
we have never a penny between us, for we were robbed 
this morning as we came along, and did not save one 


* At this the other monk laughed aloud, and Robin 
knew by that they had not spoken the truth. 

Robin, however, took no notice of their refusal, but, 
disguising his voice, continued to beg piteously for 
help. This was refused still more gruffly the second 
time, and at length Blackbeard called out to Robin 
to stand out of their way, or he would ride over him. 

At this, Robin's voice and manner changed. 

" You are both of you telling lies," he cried out, 
" and before we part I will see for myself what you 
have upon you." 

Alarmed at Robin's manner, the monks gave their 
horses a blow with their heels, and the horses made a 
start ; but Robin seized the monks, one in each hand, 
and giving a sudden jerk brought them to the ground. 
The sudden fall somewhat confused the men. On 
coming to themselves they found Robin standing 
over them with a short sword in his hand. 

" This is rough treatment," said Redbeard ; " what 
dost thou mean by assaulting us in this manner on 
the king's highway ; by the Virgin, we will have thee 
punished for this." As he spoke, he sat on the ground, 
rubbing alternately his head and elbows. 

Said Blackbeard to Robin, " Thou art the roughest 
beggar that ever I came across." 

" Charity should have taught you both better man- 
ners," said Robin, " than to refuse a poor hungry friar 
help, when you meet with him on the king's high- 

With that he raised his arm, as though he would 
have struck off the monks' heads, when instantly they 


began crying out for mercy, and vowing they would 
never refuse any one who besought their help again. 

" That is well said," cried Robin ; " but as you have 
no money, how can you relieve those who solicit 
alms ? Therefore we will retire a short distance into 
the forest, and pray to the Virgin Mary to send us 
some money." 

He then made the monks get up, and took hold of 
their gowns, lest they should attempt to run from 
him. They took hold of their horses; and in this 
way he directed their walk into the forest for a con- 
siderable distance. When they were far enouglj 
away from the high-road as to be out of sight of any 
persons travelling along it, Robin made the monks 
tether their horses to a tree ; and in obedience to his 
further direction, down they kneeled with speed. 

"Send us, oh, send us!" then, quoth they, "some 
money to serve our need." 

Blackbeard prayed, in a deep bass voice of any- 
thing but a cheerful tone, while Redbeard prayed as 
though he was continually on the point of crying, 
and Robin sang his prayer right merrily. Thus, for 
an hour, Robin kept the monks upon their knees. 
Sometimes they would come to a sudden stop, when 
Robin would raise his sword, and immediately the 
words of the prayer were resumed. Once or twice 
they looked about them, as though they were medi- 
tating an escape ; but Robin perceiving it, sang still 
higher, laughing as he sang his prayer, and the 
monks, with woe-stricken faces, fixed their looks upon 
the ground again. When they lowered their voices 


from weariness, Robin called upon them to speak up, 
or the Virgin would not hear ; and so he kept them 
on their knees until completely worn out. Blackbeard 
wrung his hands, in vexation of spirit, while Redbeard 
shed tears. When Robin paused to take a rest, he 
spurred the others on, giving them no peace. Such 
an exercise in prayer the monks had not had for a 
very long time. After two hours had elapsed, quoth 

" Do you two go on praying, and I will see whether 
any money has been sent us in answer to our prayers." 

With that he rose, and went to unfasten the saddle 
bags. In flinging them upon the ground, such a 
clinking sound proceeded from them as convinced 
Robin that their prayers had not been in vain. On 
seeing the bags on the ground, the monks stopped 
altogether ; but Robin made them resume their 
chant, " Lest," said he, " the money is taken away 
from us again before we can call it our own." 

They obeyed Robin, but prayed in a sadly altered 
tone of voice ; and so they continued, until Robin 
had opened the bags, and discovered that each con- 
tained a large sum of money in gold. Then he bade 
the monks cease their devotions. " Because," quoth 
he, " a right good answer has been given to our 

In one saddle bag was 200 in gold, and in the 
other nearly the same amount. 

" Now," said Robin, after he had counted out the 
pieces, "let us see whether the Virgin has not been 
pouring some money into our pockets as well." 


The monks protested that it was no use searching 
them ; and, thrusting their hands into their own 
pockets, they pulled them out again, and shook their 
heads, declaring that not a penny could they find. 

Robin protested that the Virgin must have sent 
them something ; for she never did things by halves 
when she began ; so he proposed that they should 
search each other. Throwing up his arms, he bade 
the Blackbeard search him. At first he refused to 
do so ; but Robin insisted, and his pockets were 
accordingly turned inside out. But not a penny was 
found. Then Robin searched both his friends, and 
upon each he found twelve more gold pieces. 

On making this discovery, Robin was very wroth, 
and he upbraided them with their falsehood. 

Quoth he, " I did intend that we should share 
equally the gold that hath been sent us, but now you 
shall have no more than two gold pieces each for 
spending money, and if that does not last you for 
your journey, then you may beg the rest ; and as you 
have been charitable to others, so may you be charit- 
ably dealt with yourselves." 

The monks said nothing in their own defence, but 
begged earnestly that they might have $ for 
spending money, which Robin at length agreed to, 
because they had prayed so well for him. The 
monks sighed wondrously deep, as they saw Robin 
pack up the whole of the money, save their pittance, 
in one of the saddle-bags, and fasten it upon one of 
the horses, which he appropriated to his own use. 
Before parting, however, Robin insisted that the 


monks should swear several oaths which he would 
administer. They were very unwilling to protract 
an interview which had resulted so unfortunately for 
themselves, but consented to the proposition for fear ' 
of worse things happening to them. They both knelt 
upon the grass, and joined hands. First, they swore 
they would never again speak other than the truth, 
wherever they were, whether journeying or at home. 
And, secondly, that they would never refuse a poor 
man who begged from them, if they had anything 
wherewith they could assist him. After they had 
taken these oaths, Robin suffered them to mount the 
other horse, and then, taking them by the hand, bade 
them each have more faith in prayer in the future 
than they had had in the past, and never tempt the 
Evil One by telling lies. 

Robin returned to the Greenwood Glade r and, ex- 
hibiting his prize, to the admiration of all his men, 
related the manner in which he had obtained it. 

11 By the honour of my order," said Friar Tuck, 
" these monks were cowardly fellows to suffer you to 
ease them in that way; had one of them been the 
friar of Fountain Abbey you would not have come 
back with a whole skin." 

"Who is the friar of Fountain Abbey?" Robin 
asked, with considerable disdain. " I fear no friar 

Tuck shook his head doubtingly. 

"He would beat thee first, bind thee afterwards, 
and then give thee to his dogs !" 

" By my head I vow," exclaimed Robin, " that I 


will see this same friar, and test his strength, and 
some of you shall be judges between us. 

Fountain Abbey was delightfully situated, in the 
midst of a section of forest which was well stocked 
with deer and other animals suited for the chase. 
Many of the barons, knights, and bishops of the 
country were in the habit of visiting the abbey to 
hunt with the abbot ; and a very large pack of well- 
trained hounds was kept for the use of the visitors. 
These dogs were under the charge of Friar Christo- 
pher, a man of great strength and gigantic stature. 
, After a few days had elapsed Robin resolved to pro- 
ceed to the abbey, with the determination to meet 
this man. 

He put on his head a cap of steel, and fastened a 
broad sword to his side, while on his shoulders he 
carried a stout buckler, and there hung loosely from 
his back a quiver full of arrows. In his hand he 
carried his trusty bow. He arranged with his men 
that fifty of them were to accompany him through 
the forest so far as the high road adjoining the abbey, 
and then they were to remain in hiding until he 
summoned them by the sound of his horn. The men 
were all dressed in Lincoln green, and were armed 
with bows and arrows. 

On reaching Fountain Abbey he saw the curtail 
friar walking by the side of the river. Had Friar 
Christopher known of Robin's coming he could not 
have been better prepared, for he also wore a cap of 
steel, and a broad sword by his side, while a stout 
buckler hung about his shoulders. At first Robin 


suspected that Friar Tuck must have communicated 
with him ; but he dismissed the thought from his 
mind, as he had never had the slightest cause to 
doubt the friar's fidelity. 

Robin rode down the hill side towards the friar, 
and then alighting from his horse, tied it to a thorn. 
Going up to the friar, he said, 

" Carry me over the water, thou curtail friar, or 
else mourn for thy life." 

The friar was much taller than Robin, and of 
stouter build, and when he heard Robin he stood 
still and laughed immoderately. Then Robin got 
vexed, and rattled his sword in its sheath as though 
he meant mischief. 

Disdaining the signal which Robin gave, the friar 
unbuckled his sword and laid it down. Robin imme- 
diately did the same, and laid his bow and arrows 
down also. 

Without saying a word, the friar then stepped into 
the water, and called out to Robin to jump on his 

This he did with alacrity. 

It so happened that there was only one ford over 
the river in a distance of several miles. The river 
was deep, though not very broad. 

The friar stepped on to the ford with Robin on his 
back, and strode forward with as much ease as if he 
only carried a child on his back. 

Robin saw, as the monk walked through the water, 
that the stream was deep on each side of them. 

Forward the friar strode without a word, his sides 


now and then shaking from the effect of some hidden 
convulsion, the outward manifestation *df which would 
break forth again and again in spurts of laughter. In 
a few minutes he had reached the opposite side, and 
Robin leaped lightly down from his back. 

Then the friar's manner changed. 

* Now," said he, " it 's your turn to carry me over, 
and if you don't comply it will breed you pain." 

Robin immediately stepped into the water, and 
took the friar on to his back, but he was so heavy 
that Robin staggered under his weight before he had 
reached the middle of the water, and it was with 
difficulty that he managed to reach the opposite side. 
Having finished his task, Robin insisted that the 
friar should carry him over once more ; and he, 
nothing loath, again took Robin up. But, coming to 
the middle of the river, the friar, with a sudden jerk, 
threw Robin head foremost into deep water. 

The friar stood still while Robin floundered about, 
and, as he rose to the surface, laughed at him right 

Robin swam ashore without any difficulty, but 
Friar Christopher reached the side first, and armed 
himself. When Robin reached the side he laid hold 
of his bow, and shot several arrows at the friar, who 
caught them on his shield very cleverly. Again and 
again Robin shot, but each time with the like result ; 
and the friar called out derisively to shoot all day, 
and he would be the butt with pleasure. Robin con- 
tinued to shoot until all his arrows were gone; and 
then they fought with their swords. 


Here they were again equally matched. They 
fought until their swords struck out sparks of fire as 
they clashed, and caught blows upon their shields 
that, had they fallen upon their limbs, would have 
inflicted deadly wounds. For several hours they 
fought with their swords, neither of them seeming 
disposed to give way. At length, from sheer weari- 
ness, they both stopped, and stepped back from each 
other a few yards. 

" Give me leave to blow a blast on this horn ?" said 

"Blow till your cheeks burst, for what I care!" 
replied the friar. 

Whereupon Robin blew a loud blast upon his horn 
For several seconds the echoes could be heard over 
the forest, and gradually died away in the distant 
hills. Before many minutes had elapsed there was a 
noise heard in the forest, and the next moment there 
came running out fifty men, all armed. They came 
up to Robin, saluted him respectfully, and asked him 
what he desired from them. 

The friar looked very much surprised to see so 
many men. 

" Whose men are these ?" he asked. 

" Mine," was Robin's reply ; " and they have come 
to take you into the forest to shew you some strange 

" That shall they never do," replied the friar. 

Immediately he set his fingers to his mouth, and 
blew three loud whistles. Robin and his men could 
not make out what the friar was after ; but were not 


kept long in suspense. There was, in a few seconds, 
the sound of a hound's voice ; then another, and an- 
other, until the air was filled with the echoes of their 
voices. Over a hill, on the opposite side of the river, 
came the hounds ; and then, to the astonishment of 
the forest rovers, they counted no fewer than fifty 
hounds. They swam across the river, and leaped 
about the friar, licking his hands, as though rejoiced 
to meet him. 

" Now," exclaimed the friar, " here is a dog apiece 
for your men, and I am for you ; so fall to, lads." 

At the same time the friar pointed the dogs to the 
* men ; and, as though they knew what was intended, 
the dogs flew towards Robin's friends. Each man 
hastily drew an arrow, fitted it to his bow, and fired ; 
but the dogs had been so well trained that they 
caught the arrows in their mouths, and carried them 
to the friar. The men shot at the dogs again and 
again, but with the like wonderful result. Robin 
looked on in wonder and admiration at the strange 
sight, and was much puzzled what to do. At length 
Little John shouted out to the friar to call his 
dogs away, or he would kill them all. The friar 
laughed in reply. Little John spoke aside to Will, 
and immediately they both fired at the same dog. 
The dog caught one as before, but the other pierced 
his side, and he fell dead. Seeing the success of this 
plan, the others imitated their example ; and in a 
very short time they slew, in this manner, about 
twenty of the dogs. When the friar saw this, he 
called out to the men to cease firing, and he and 


Robin would agree. The men did so very gladly, 
because they admired the skill of the dogs, and were 
unwilling to slay them. 

Advancing to where Robin stood, the friar bowed 
his knee, in courtesy, and Robin bade him have no 
fear of his men ; for they had only come to see a 
brave friar, of whom they had heard much. 

Friar Christopher was very much concerned for the 
loss of his dogs, and declared that it was as much as 
his life was worth to go back to the abbey without 

Whereupon Robin begged him to return with them 
to Sherwood, where he would have many opportu- 
nities of trying his dogs ; and for himself he would 
be heartily welcome. 

Said Little John, " We have one of your cloth there 
already, and a famous good fellow he is, either to 
cook a joint, or draw a cork." 

The friar appeared to hesitate for one moment ; 
Ibut looking on the bodies of his hounds, he gave 

Said Robin, " No one shall be more welcome. 
You began this day by giving me a cold bath ; but 
we will close it with a merry feast." 

Calling his dogs together, the friar accompanied 
Robin and his men into the forest, in the direction of 
the Greenwood Glade. As they walked together, 
Friar Christopher made many inquiries about Friar 
Tuck ; and at length he declared that they were old 
friends, and at one time had lived together in the same 
abbey. Robin frankly stated that it was entirely 


owing to what Friar Tuck had said that they had 
met that day ; and that the blame of what had hap- 
pened if any one deserved censure attached to 
Friar Tuck. Friar Christopher, on hearing this, de- 
clared he would be even with his brother Tuck for 
sending him such a visitor. He called one of his 
dogs, tore off a piece of his robe, shewed it to him, 
and then motioned him forward. 

At this time those left behind in the general recep- 
tion glade were very busily engaged preparing for a 
grand feast against the return of Robin and his men. 
Tuck's services were in special requisition on this 
occasion. He was tasting some newly-brewed beer 
when a deer-hound broke in, and ran up to him. 

The friar called to the dog affectionately, and in a 
coaxing tone of voice; but the dog began jumping 
about him, and barking in a manner that alarmed 
the fat friar very much. Tuck began to feel very 
nervous ; coaxing words seemed to have no effect 
upon the dog, which continued its antics, jumping 
round him in a circle, nearer and nearer, then up at 
his face, in a very threatening manner. At first, the 
friar fancied that the dog wanted something to eat, 
and called to Firepan, who was turning a spit of veni- 
son over a fire, to cut a slice, and throw it to the 
animal. Firepan complied with the request, and cut 
a morsel that he was sure would tempt any sensible 
dog. He flung it towards the animal, which turned 
aside for a moment, but, without touching the meat, 
immediately returned to the friar, and continued its 
strange gambols. 


" The dog 's mad/' exclaimed Firepan ; " throw 
your beads over him." 

Unfortunately the friar had left his beads in the 
glade-house ; but raising his hands, he gave the dog 
his blessing, and charged it to leave him. The; crea- 
ture, however, took no heed of the pious action 
resorted to, and, with a sudden bound, it seized the 
bottom part of the monk's gown, and tearing a long 
piece off in his teeth, bounded away into the forest, 
and was quickly lost to sight. 

The friar looked aghast at the rent made in his 
robe. He took the tattered ends up very daintily in 
his fingers, as though afraid of venom in the touch, 
and examined them closely. 

" This is most extraordinary, Firepan," he ex- 

But before he had done examining his dress, an- 
other dog of the same breed, but differently marked, 
came bounding in, and, like his predecessor, ran up to 
the friar. He, too, began skipping round the asto- 
nished monk, just as the first had done. This second 
appearance completely upset the friar's gravity. 

Firepan started to his feet on seeing the second 
dog gamboling about the friar, ran to the nearest 
tree, scrambled up into it, and called upon the friar 
to imitate his example without delay. From the 
branches, he watched with considerable anxiety the 
progress of events below. 

The second hound kept running round the monk in 
circles, who kept turning, as on a pivot, so as to face 
the dog. This performance was varied by the dog 


making an occasional spring towards the friar, who 
tried to keep it off by making use of all sorts of ten- 
der phrases supposed to be understood by the canine 
creation. All this time the friar kept the ends of his 
gown in his hands; but when the dog once came 
nearer than before to the friar's face, he dropped his 
dress in alarm ; instantly the dog seized the gown 
with his teeth, and tore off a large strip, with which 
he ran off into the forest. 

Freed once more, Tuck looked up to where Firepan 
was quietly sitting amongst the branches of the trees, 
as if he meant to follow. But the good man was 
rather giddy with so much turning, and was slower in 
his movements than he should have been. He made 
a step towards a tree which seemed to afford easy 
means of ascent ; but, before he reached it, there was 
a slight crash amongst the leaves and brambles, and a 
third hound made its appearance. This fellow had a 
black and white tail, and was different to both the 
others. Up to where the friar stood he bounded, 
and, springing at him with considerable eagerness, 
caught the offending garment in his teeth, and, 
stripping off a long piece, started off again into the 

This third visitant completely upset the friar's con- 
fidence. He dashed at the tree in which Firepan was 
seated, and called out to him to give him a lift with 
his hand. The friar, however, was not so nimble a 
climber as the cook, and whilst he was struggling to 
get up, a fourth dog bounded into the place, and lay- 
ing hold of the tattered fragments of the friar's gown, 


tore the gown away from his shoulders, leaving the 
poor fellow with only the front half. The friar, ex- 
cited by the dog's barking, worked his knees, legs, 
and arms so skilfully as to reach a place of security 
in the tree beside Firepan. 

Yet another, and another dog bounded into the 
glade, after the friar had attained his elevated posi- 
tion. These last appeared to be very much irritated 
at his escape, and barked loudly, and sprang up to try 
to catch hold of him. 

" Friar," said Firepan, " I tell you what it is, Robin 
and his men have been turned into dogs by some 
witchcraft, and these are only come to fetch you to 
where the rest are, to break the spell." 

" They've taken enough of my gown away to effect 
their purpose, I hope," said the friar. " If there is 
any virtue in a friar's gown, I believe Robin will find 
it in mine ; but now that I'm out of their way, I don't 
mean to get down again until I am winded." 

Before many minutes had elapsed fresh dogs 
arrived, until there was six of them jumping up and 
barking at the two men in the tree. The friar, being 
out of danger, half inclined to the belief that some 
spell of witchcraft had been worked upon Robin and 
his party, and resolved to try what talking to the 
brutes would do, he urged the dogs to go to the spits 
of venison and help themselves, as the meat was done 
to a turn ; or draw the bungs from the barrels of beer, 
and take a good draught, which he vowed was an 
excellent cure for a disordered mind. 

The hounds, however, paid no heed to his words, 


but kept on their insane game of leaping and bark- 

The friar had left his horn with his beads, and Fire- 
pan had let his fall to the ground in scrambling up 
the tree, so that they were unable to summon assist- 
ance from the Greenwood-tree Glade, where some 
further cooking operations were being carried on. 
So there was no help for them but to sit where they 
were until relieved by some one, or until the spell 
had worked itself off. 

Seeing that he had a portion of his gown remain- 
ing, Firepan suggested that the friar should cast it to 
them, which he did, and no sooner had it fallen to the 
ground than the hounds tore it to pieces, and started 
off into the forest with the fragments. 

No more dogs came, but in a few minutes there 
was heard in the forest the sound of human voices, 
evidently very merry. The friar trembled in every 
limb, because he recognised the voice of Robin above 
the others ; and he could not divest his mind from 
the belief that the men had been bewitched. Firepan 
shared the friar's opinion, and his teeth chattered in 
his head as he saw Robin and his men enter the open 
space from the same direction that the dogs had 

The friar called out, " Robin Hood, is that you ? " 
and without waiting for an answer continued, " are 
you safe in every limb ? Did the gown do the trick 
for you ? How did it happen ? Why couldn't the 
dogs have spoken, and then I would not have kept 
you waiting so long ? " 


Robin looked up at the strange birds in the tree, 
and burst out into excessive laughter, in which all his 
men joined. 

" Why, what in the name of all the saints are you 
doing up there ?" inquired Robin. 

" Why," said the friar, " I don't exactly know ; but 
if those cursed hounds had only spoken, I would 
have come to you myself." 

" And I, too," said the cook, " would have come ; 
but we could not make out what they wanted at first" 

"Are you both mad?" quoth Robin. "I never 
saw two such care crazed scarecrows in all my life. 
Come down, for goodness sake, and give us some 

Down they came in obedience to the summons, 
but evidently afraid lest Robin and his friends should 
turn into hounds again ; nor could the friar be per- 
suaded that it really was Robin, until he had felt 
him with his hand. Robin laughed immoderately, 
and so did his men, at the fright of Tuck and Fire- 
pan. When both had reached the ground, and were 
somewhat recovering their composure, Robin sounded 
a whistle, and immediate the noise of hounds was 
heard, and the very same dogs that had caused so 
much alarm came bounding into the place. No 
sooner did Firepan and Tuck catch sight of the first, 
than they bounded off to the nearest tree, and were 
only prevented from climbing it by force. The men 
roared with laughter ; and some of them rolled help- 
lessly on the ground in the excess of their merriment. 
Following the hounds rame the Friar Christopher, 


who walked up to Tuck, and laughing heartily, bade 
him send his friends no more such rough visitors as 
Robin Hood. The friar at once saw that a trick had 
been played upon him, and insisted that his brother 
should share his gown between them. Friar Christo- 
pher said Tuck was welcome to it, if he could take it 
from him, but the latter knew better than to try. 

They were all very merry over dinner, and the story 
of the joke played upon Tuck was told to the whole 
company amid merriment, in which Tuck very 
heartily joined. 

Some weeks after this event, as Robin and a party 
of his men were walking through the forest they met 
with a number of the king's officers, and from them 
they learned that Richard was a prisoner on the con- 
tinent, and that a heavy ransom would have to be 
paid to effect his release. Robin and his band imme- 
diately resolved to subscribe 500 towards the re- 
demption-money ; and that sum was handed over to 
the king's officers by Robin at the close of a grand 
feast, which was given in their honour. The officers 
declared that the king should know how generously 
Robin had contributed towards his release. 


King Richard visits Nottingham, and goes into Sherwood His Meet- 
ing with Robin He pardons Robin, and they enter Nottingham 
together Robin and his men are installed in the Castle The 
Death of Richard The Discovery of the Branded Arrow, and 
Death of Gammer. 

|ING RICHARD was released from cap. 
tivity February, 1194, and arrived in 
England on March 13 of the same year. 
Three days after his arrival in this 
country he came to Nottingham. Prince John was 
then in possession of the castle, which he had taken 
forcible possession of from the regents of the king- 
dom. On the arrival of the king the castle surren- 
dered. On his reaching Nottingham the sheriff took 
an early opportunity of laying before him an account 
of the tricks Robin Hood was continually playing 
upon the king's liege subjects, robbing them of their 
money, beating them with staves, stripping them, and 
causing them to lie upon the bare ground all night, 
and forcing his way into the town, and killing the 


The king listened in silence. He had heard from 
his officers of the handsome contribution that Robin 
had sent him, and was in no way disposed to adopt 
harsh measures towards him. 

The sheriff, after telling his story, introduced Gruff 
and several of his foresters, who also told the king a 
very sorrowful tale of the manner in which the deer 
were shot by Robin and his men, and how the herds 
were becoming thinner and fewer every year. 

" By my head," said the king, " you are all of one 
compact against this Robin Hood ; but I will pay no 
heed to your stories, but go into the forest and see 
with my own eyes what this man hath done amongst 
the herds." 

The sheriff urged the king to take with him the 
strongest regiment of soldiers he had in Nottingham, 
as Robin had proved himself more than a match for 
the strongest force that had hitherto been sent 
against him. 

The king approved of this, and directed the gover- 
nor of the castle to get a number of men ready to 
accompany him. The day for the expedition had 
been fixed, and Robin was made acquainted by his 
scouts with what had been determined upon. 

Several days before the time appointed a very 
trivial incident diverted the king from his purpose. 
Friar Christopher was despatched to Nottingham, 
with instructions from Robin to send a message to 
the king, respectfully informing him that he would 
meet the king, if he would come alone and unarmed 
into the forest ; but that if he brought any soldiers 


with him Robin and the whole of his band would 
depart for a season. The friar repaired to St Anne's 
Well, where he chanced to meet a little girl who was 
waiting for some one to assist her to draw water. 
This the friar did, and while still engaged in conver- 
sation with the child, one of Robin's men came up, as 
previously arranged, and addressing the friar, said, 

" Holy man, Robin Hood saith let the king come 
unarmed and alone into the forest, and he and all his 
band will submit themselves to him ; but if the king 
comes with soldiers, they may search for a year and 
never find one of the forest rovers." 

Having delivered this message the man instantly 
retired; and a few minutes afterwards there came 
sauntering to the spot one of Richard's soldiers, to 
whom the friar communicated Robin's message, which 
was confirmed by the little girl. 

Hereupon the soldier brought the friar and the 
child before the king, to whom the message was 

The king immediately determined to accept Robin's 
proposal, and bade the friar communicate to Robin 
that the king consented. Without saying a word to 
any one, the king, on the following day, disguised 
himself in the dress of a monk, and boldly entered 
the forest. After wandering about for several miles 
he was met by Little John, who asked him whither 
he went ? 

The king replied, that he was afraid of being 
robbed on the high road, that he was going to Not- 
tingham on an errand to the king, and was in a great 


huny. He begged Little John to shew him the way ? 
if he knew it. 

Little John declared that he must not think of re- 
turning just then, because there was one in the forest 
who begged the honour of his company to dinner. 

The king protested against any such discourtesy 
being practised upon him, but Little John was firm, 
and the king, after a slight shew of unwillingness, 

Robin was expecting, besides the king, to have 
the company of Sir Richard, of Lea Castle, who had 
offered to give shelter to a portion of Robin's band, if 
they would accept it, until the king had left Notting- 

Little John led his companion to the place where 
it had been arranged the king should be entertained. 
Robin lay at the foot of an old oak, silently pon- 
dering over his future plans. Friar Tuck and about 
eight others were present, the remainder being dis- 
persed throughout the forest, to look out for the king 
and Sir Richard. 

At the very moment of the king's arrival Sir 
Richard made his appearance, and received a hearty 
greeting from Robin. The king stood silently by, 
without speaking, and Friar Tuck, seeing a brother 
present, exchanged such, civilities with him as he was 
master of. 

The knight threw himself beside Robin on the 
grass, and they began talking of King Richard's 
doings in Nottingham, in a tone of voice loud 
enough for the king to hear. 


Sir Richard was endeavouring to assure Robin 
that the king would do him no harm, and that it was 
owing to some slander of the Sheriff of Nottingham 
that had made the king think of getting up an expe- 
dition into the forest to capture Robin and his band. 

At length, Little John, beckoning the king to 
follow him, stepped before Robin, and, making a low 
bow, told him that he had found the monk wander- 
ing in the forest, and that he had stated he was on 
his way to the king, for whom he had a message. 

" Thou art right welcome, man," said Robin ; " but 
cast back the hood which covers thy face, and let us 
see if we know thee." 

" Let him do it who dares," replied the king. 

"Ah, ah, ah!" laughed Robin, "it will not take 
long to do that." 

So saying, he rose from the grass and proceeded 
to throw back the hood, which covered the king's 
head and face in such a way as to hide his features. 
As he raised his hand, however, he received such a 
buffet from the king's arm as sent him tumbling 
backwards over the knight 

" That was a mighty strong blow," Little John 
exclaimed ; " perhaps thou wilt be good enough to 
repeat the dose?" 

He immediately stepped up to the king, and raised 
his arm to put back the hood, but in an instant a 
similar blow sent him also sprawling on the grass. 
The force with which the blow was delivered effected 
the purpose Robin had desired, for the hood fell 
from the king's face. 


The knight had risen to his feet, and was looking 
into the face of the king with a puzzled expression 
on his countenance. In a moment he recognised the 
features, and kneeling bareheaded before his monarch, 
exclaimed, " God save King Richard !" 

Robin and Little John were startled by the knight's 
words ; they doffed their caps instantly, and kneeling 
before him, besought his pardon for their rudeness. 

" Rise," said the king, " do not kneel to me here." 
Then turning to Robin Hood, he added, " I have 
heard much of thee; thou hast slain my deer these 
many years, beaten my foresters, and slain them too, 
opposed the Sheriff of Nottingham, played tricks 
upon fat bishops and gouty barons, and now I have 
come to summon thee to a reckoning." 

" My lord," Robin said, " no man can say I ever 
robbed a poor man, injured a woman, or despoiled 
the widow and the fatherless. I have taken from 
rich abbots, but I have given to the deserving, from 
whom they exacted too much. I have beaten the 
foresters, and slain them too, but they first slew my 
father, and my mother, and my wife's father, and 
many others of whom I might speak. I have 
opposed the Sheriff of Nottingham, because he took 
vows and broke them, made promises and violated 
them, and those who suffered with him were like 
him. But, my lord, there is one thing thou hast not 
remembered in the catalogue of my sins. I met thy 
exchequer men carrying a rich booty to London, 
wherewith to pay a monarch's ransom, and I con- 
tributed to that ransom out of what I had, It has 


not been against the king that I have fought, but 
against his unworthy servants, men who, in some 
authority, fattened themselves upon the substance of 
the poor and needy. All that I have wronged the 
king in, has been in helping myself to a few of his 
deer for myself and my men." 

" Say no more," replied the king ; " I forgive thee 
and thy men for all that has been done against me ; 
and for what thou hast done to the bishops, the 
priors, and the barons, I thank thee from my heart." 

On hearing these words Robin put his horn to his 
mouth and blew three loud blasts, such blasts as made 
the forest echo again and again. 

Friar Tuck, on hearing the salutation of Sir Richard, 
had fallen upon his knees by a fire over which some 
venison was roasting, and continued for some time 
turning the spit with one hand, and crossing himself 
with the other, as though he anticipated nothing short 
of death for the crimes of which he had beeo. guilty. 

Shortly after the sound of the horn had died away, 
there came running in, led by Will, five-and-twenty 
men all dressed in Lincoln green, who came straight- 
way up to where Robin stood, and made a bow before 
him. Then five-and-twenty ran in led by Alan ; after- 
wards, two other files of the same number under Much 
and Scathelock ; and finally, there came in the curtail 
friar with his hounds. The friar recognised the king, 
but on a motion from him was silent. 

The king watched with some astonishment the 
several files of men come trooping in. 

T " I declare that these men obey thee more willingly, 


and with more joy, than do mine obey me," said the 
king to Robin. 

When all had entered Robin, pointing to the king, 

" Let every man who loves his country and his king 
say with me, ' God save King Richard !' " 

The men seemed to be taken completely aback. 
They took off their caps, and, waving them in the air, 
shouted with all their might, "God save King Richard!" 
Then cheer after cheer rent the air. 

The king's countenance changed at the reception 
he received, and he gave Robin and Little John each 
a friendly buffet on the shoulder. 

When the feast was ready, Robin sent for Marian 
and Ellen, and presented them to the king, who, as he 
looked upon their faces, exclaimed, " By my head 
they are comely dames !" 

They sat down on the grass to the feast, and Robin 
with Little John waited on the king. They had roast 
venison, river fowl, and flesh of several sorts ; besides 
good bread, old wine, and strong ale. 

The king ate heartily, and was very merry over the 
feast. He told them strange stories of his adven- 
tures in the Holy Land, and of his sufferings in cap- 

When the feast was ended, the king filled a horn 
with wine, and calling upon all present to do likewise, 
proposed " Long life to Robin Hood and his merrie 
men !" 

Then Robin filled another horn, and called upon 
his men to drink " Long life to King Richard!" which 


they did with such zest as to make Friar Christopher's 
hounds bark in chorus. 

After the feast was ended, Robin ordered the wands 
to be set up, that they might shew the king some true 
forest play. 

Two wands were accordingly set up, and a garland 
hung on the side of each ; whoever missed the wand, 
and went outside the garland too, was to receive a 
buffet from the man who had preceded him. 

When the king saw the distance measured, he de- 
clared that it was too long by fifty paces. 

Robin immediately placed an arrow to his bow, and 
firing struck the wand, whereat the king clapped his 

One after the other of Robin's men shot, and when- 
ever one missed the wand and the garland beside, he 
had to receive a buffet. These buffets were delivered 
without mercy, and sometimes knocked the unfor- 
tunate marksman over, which caused much laughter. 

Once Robin missed the mark, and went up to the 
king to receive a buffet, which was administered with 
such force as sent Robin reeling against the nearest 

After shooting at the wands for some time, the 
bows were laid down, and then the men fell to with 
quarterstaves. They exhibited such skill in the use 
of these as astonished the king. 

When this game was finished, the king proposed 
that Robin and his men should go with him into Not- 
tingham, where he declared he would have no other 
body-guard so long as he remained; and when he 

2 3 


left, they should all be provided for at the castle as 
long as they chose to remain in his service. 

Robin and all his band swore that they would never 
leave the king's service so long as he reigned. Sundry 
effects were packed up immediately upon the backs 
of the horses, and they all prepared to accompany 
their royal master to Nottingham. A fairer display 
had never been seen, and as Robin rode by the king's 
side, the latter declared that Robin had better men 
under him than he had been able to obtain himself. 

Robin, to beguile the time, told the king what first 
led him to adopt a forest life, and recounted the prin- 
cipal adventures he had had. The recital of these 
stories kept the king in a merry mood. 

The arrival of Robin Hood and his men created 
quite a panic in Nottingham amongst the Normans. 
The sheriff ordered all the abbey bells to be rung, and 
the governor of the castle beat up a strong force of 
soldiers to repel the rude force that had ventured into 
the town. There was no mistake about the force ; 
every man wore the well-known Lincoln green ; even 
the king wore a garb like the others, and so for a time 
escaped recognition. The people ran hither and thi- 
ther, uncertain and alarmed, not knowing what was 
about to happen. 

While all these things were transpiring, the force 
that had given rise to all the alarm quietly marched 
into the town. 

This terrible fact was communicated to the sheriff 
without delay, who forwarded a messenger to the 
governor. The castle soldiers were being ranged in 


the square at the time when the last item of intelli- 
gence was fonvarded to them. Before the final 
arrangements were made, other messengers came 
with the most conflicting and contradictory reports. 
One said that Robin had advanced to the market- 
square without opposition, and was on his way to the 
castle ; another declared that he was on the point of 
hanging the sheriff and setting the town on fire. 

The news of Robin's presence in the city spread 
among the Saxons like wildfire ; old and young, men 
and women, lame, halt, and blind, poured out into the 
streets to welcome him. On every side there rose 
loud and hearty cheers, the people shouting his name 
aloud. When the cavalcade reached the square, there 
was a halt for a few moments, and then some people 
found out that the stranger who rode silently by 
Robin's side was no other than the king ; and when 
this was fnade known, there was such a burst of cheer- 
ing heard as had not been raised to welcome the king 
when he first entered the town. Strong voices shouted 
out, "God save King Richard and Robin Hood!" 

The cry was taken up from street to street, and 
rolled upon the air with increasing power and volume, 
until the soldiers in the castle caught the sound, and 
the governor grew mightily alarmed. He was a cautious 
man, however, and would not fling his soldiers away. 
The enemy was close at hand, so the drawbridge was 
kept up, the gates closed, and the walls bristled with 
armed men. 

Straight on the cavalcade came, right in the direc- 
tion of the castle, and on coming near, the king's voice 


was heard, calling on the governor to let the draw- 
bridge down and admit him and his friends. 

The governor recognised the king's voice, and im- 
mediately ordered the bridge to be lowered. Bare- 
headed in the gateway stood the governor, who looked 
up at Robin with evident surprise as he swept by him, 
followed by all his men. Marian and Ellen were also 
amongst the number following in the procession, and 
the curtail friar with his hounds. 

The following day the king sat in council, and be- 
hind his chair stood Robin Hood and Little John, 
while round about the room were a number of Robin's 

Amongst those present at the council were the 
Bishop of Hereford and the Abbot of St Mary's, 
York, and many others, with whom Robin had 
sported at one time or another as they journeyed 
through the forest. These looked amazed when they 
saw Robin standing behind the king's chair, and 
whispered amongst themselves, wondering what it 
could mean. 

At length the Abbot of St Mary's rose and told 
the king openly that the notorious robber of Sher- 
wood Forest was present, and urged the king to order 
his instant imprisonment. 

The king, however, spoke up in defence of Robin, 
and rebuked the abbot for discourtesy to his retainers, 
and harsh treatment of those who held lands under 
him ; and he vowed that, when he wanted more money 
to carry on a war, he would have a close examination 
made of the strong chests in all the religious houses, 


When the others who had been eased by Robin of 
their superfluous wealth heard this, they were silent 
and confused, and nothing more was said in the pre- 
sence of the king about imprisoning Robin. 

So long as the king remained in Nottingham, he 
would have no other guard about him but Robin and 
his men. They accompanied him in his excursions 
about the town, and were present at all the public 
ceremonies in which the king took part. Before leav- 
ing Nottingham, he gave orders to the governor of 
the castle to admit Robin and his men as members 
of his garrison. 

There were many of Robin's band, however, who 
refused to enter the service of the king as regular sol- 
diers, and they were allowed to go wherever they 
chose unmolested. 

Robin was now installed in the castle, and entered 
upon the service of a regular soldier with all the zest 
of which his nature was capable. 

The Saxons of the town plucked up courage when 
Robin became a resident among them, and the sheriff 
contented himself with grumbling. 

Some weeks after the departure of the king, Prince 
John came to Nottingham and paid a visit to the 

The governor received him with all the attention 
due to his rank, but was not a little annoyed at the 
prince telling him bluntly that he did not want to have 
anything to do with him, but only Robin Hood. 

To Robin the Prince shewed such remarkable 
attention, as to cause it to become the topic of con- 


versation in the castle. Robin quickly discovered 
the design of the prince. The day of the prince's 
departure, Robin and he were alone on one of the 
towers of the castle, when Prince John asked him 
how he would like to be governor of the castle. 

Robin, in reply, said he was anxious to show his 
love to the king in any way the king might think 

This was not exactly what the prince wanted, so 
he spoke more openly. 

The day might come, the prince observed, when 
events would take place in the kingdom similar to 
those that- had recently happened, and if he could 
rely upon Robin's assistance at that time, he should 
be governor of the castle for life as a reward. 

Treachery was no element in Robin's character, 
and when he understood fully what the prince meant, 
he declared that he would rather lose his life than 
betray the trust of one who had befriended him. 

On hearing this, the prince flew into a great rage, 
and swore that he would teach Robin such a lesson 
for his impertinence, as he would never forget. 

He immediately left the castle without sending 
word of his departure to the governor. 

The sudden leaving of the prince caused some 
surprise, and Robin at first felt inclined to disclose 
what had taken place, but after a little consideration 
he resolved to keep it secret, lest it might lead to 
further sorrow in the kingdom. 

Several years passed, and Robin still maintained 
his position in the castle, having won the respect and 


friendship of all, from the governor to the commonest 
soldier in the place. In the years that passed, Robin 
never forgot the little interview he had had with 
Prince John. 

One day, in the year 1199, while Robin was on 
duty at the principal gate, there came a messenger 
in hot haste from the sheriff, asking to see the 

" He is not in the castle," replied Robin. 

"Then I must see the lieutenant-governor," the 
man said. 

" I am he," responded Robin. 

" The sheriff bade me say, that thou must not allow 
Robin Hood to leave the castle on any account, or 
thou wilt lose thy head ; for Richard is dead, and 
Prince John is now king." 

This intelligence rather startled Robin, but after a 
little reflection, he resolved at once to leave the castle 
with such men as chose to accompany him. In the 
course of the five years which had elapsed since his 
entrance, the number of his men had rapidly thinned- 
They were averse to the regular life which they had 
to lead, so one after the other left, but all in perfect 
friendship with Robin. 

" Good-bye, dear master," they would say ; " and 
may the day soon come when we shall all meet again 
in the forest." 

Amongst the principal of those who remained with 
him were Little John, Will, Alan, Much, Scathe- 
lock, and the Friar Tuck. The brothers Cobble went 
to live in one of the villages bordering on the forest. 


Robin sought the first opportunity of communicat- 
ing his resolution to his men. 

On the governor's return to the castle, Robin 
asked for leave of absence, which was immediately 
granted ; and he left with Marian the same hour. 

Said Little John to Will, " I shall be heartily glad 
to be out of this castle ; I am sick of the confinement, 
and, methinks, there is yet left in my quiver, that 
hangs in my cell, a few arrows that I had in the 
forest before we came, that shall do good service 
amongst the deer. 

The quiver was brought, and he shewed to Will 
the identical arrows that he had taken from the 
sheriff's quiver, that hung in his house, on the occa- 
sion of his short service with that functionary. Other 
arrows had been manufactured in the castle for their 
use, but these had been preserved as mementoes of 
his merry adventures in former times. 

In the evening of the day that Robin left, all, the 
others managed to follow his example ; and they met 
at a spot agreed upon in the forest. 

On getting clear of the town, all Robin's love of 
freedom returned ; and when he was joined by his 
comrades, he and Marian declared they would never 
again reside in the castle. They bent their steps 
instinctively towards the Greenwood Glade ; and 
Robin celebrated their arrival there by giving three 
loud blasts upon his horn. They found both houses 
in a capital state of preservation, and there was little 
doubt that they had remained undisturbed since they 
had quitted them, on the occasion of King Richard's 


visit. They lest no time on their arrival in getting 
things ready for a lengthened sojourn, and laid in 
stores of provisions as in former times. 

The very same day that Robin escaped into the 
forest, the governor heard of the death of Richard ; 
and three days afterwards, there came a messenger 
from London, who had been travelling night and day, 
bearing instructions from King John for the iimne^ 
diate seizure of Robin. 

From this the governor discovered that, by some 
unaccountable means, Robin must have heard of the 
king's death ; and, though very much against his 
inclination, he felt obliged to order out a company of 
men to go in pursuit of Robin. The soldiers scoured 
the town in every direction, and then searched the 
borders of the forest ; but in vain, they could neither 
see nor hear anything of the famous rover, whom the 
new king so much disliked. Some days after the 
arrival of the king's messenger at Nottingham, a com- 
pany of soldiers made their appearance, who had been 
dispatched to take Robin and his men prisoners to 
London. When they came, a second expedition was 
sent into the forest, but it met with no better success 
than the first. 

The escape of Robin soon got bruited about in the 
town, and was conveyed to the neighbouring villages. 
Robin's men heard of it with the greatest joy, and 
forthwith prepared to tender their allegiance. They 
knew very well how to find him, and although the 
governor offered a large reward for Robin's capture, 
no one ventured to betray him then. After several 


days had elapsed, the governor directed the soldiers 
to return to London, and report Robin's escape. 

Sir Richard, hearing of his danger and escape, was 
one of the first to meet him in the forest, and offer 
assistance, and shelter in case of need. 

Robin thanked the knight for his courtesy, but 
declared that he was safer in the forest than in any 
castle, and could rely upon a sufficient number of 
men at any time, when he chose to meet his enemies 
in a pitched battle. 

The knight, however, persuaded Robin to accept 
large quantities of provisions, besides arms for his im- 
mediate use. 

Within a fortnight of Robin's arrival, more than 
sixty of his men presented themselves, and would 
have remained with him in the forest, had he con- 
sented. He directed them to return to their homes 
for the present, get as large quantities of food as they 
were able, and revisit him at a future day. 

While the soldiers were searching the forest, Robin 
and his men kept very close in the Greenwood Glade, 
where he knew they were safe from discovery. They 
spent their time fashioning new weapons, and arrang- 
ing plans for the future. Robin found out that the 
Sheriff of Nottingham had been affording the soldiers 
all the aid in his power ; and he declared that the 
sheriff should repent of his conduct very speedily. 

King John was excessively annoyed at Robin's 
escape from his clutches ; and believing that the 
governor had favoured his retirement from the castle, 
he sent down a new man to supersede him. On his 


arrival, fresh expeditions were planned, and the forest 
scoured day after day, but without meeting with 
Robin. At length, wearied out with his exertions, 
the governor sent up such a report to the king as 
induced him to believe that Robin had left that part 
of the country altogether. 

After the soldiers had been withdrawn from the 
forest Robin summoned his band together, and they 
hunted the king's deer as in former years, but with 
considerably more eagerness, on account of their long 

Shortly after their re-settlement in the forest they 
had a shooting match. Little John said to Robin he 
would try one of the sheriff's arrows, and taking a 
second out of his quiver he invited Robin to fit it 
to his bow. 

Robin took the proffered arrow in his hand, and, 
looking at it for an instant, recognised the fatal 
brand upon it, corresponding with the one he had 
carried in his quiver so long, and which he had 
drawn from his father's body. 

" Little John," said he, " thou hast made a dis- 
covery for me I have sought to make for myself yet 
in vain these many years. Here," he continued, 
drawing an arrow from his quiver, " if I mistake not, 
is the fellow of that arrow of thine." 

Little John took the broken weapon from Robin's 
hand, and examining it closely, saw that the marks 
upon them corresponded exactly. 

" I cannot understand thee," said Little John ; 
" this arrow is branded in the same way as that of 


mine, but this is spliced, and yet thou hast been 
carrying it in thy quiver." 

" That arrow," Robin replied, " I drew from my 
father's body after he was shot in the forest. It was 
broken in his side, and this piece is still stained with 
his blood." 

Robin pointed out to Little John the blood upon 
the arrow which he held in his hand. 

Said Little John, " Master, if I had only known 
this I would have slain the sheriff in his own house." 

" It is well thou didst not," Robin replied, " for no 
hand but mine must revenge my father's death. 
Thou hast done me a good service in tracing out 
this mystery for me. I want no further evidence. 
Now I am astonished that I never before suspected 
the sheriff of the crime of murdering my father." 

Looking Little John earnestly in the face, Robin, 
after a pause, added, " The sheriff's days are now 
numbered ; I vow I will take no rest until I have 
slain him." 

Without saying a word to any of the rest of the 
band, Robin immediately set forth alone on his way 
to Nottingham. He flatly refused to allow Little 
John to accompany him, and forbade his mentioning 
to any one the purpose he (Robin) had in view in 
going to town. 

On his way, Robin heard that one of his men had 
been captured by some of the sheriff's men, and was 
going to be hung immediately. Robin instantly 
sounded his horn, and very shortly Little John made 
his appearance with twenty of the band. They were 


instructed to disguise themselves as quickly as they 
could, and follow their leader to Nottingham. 

While the men were busily engaged making up 
disguises Robin went on in advance. He found the 
town in a great uproar, by reason of the execution 
that was about to take place. 

" If Robin Hood was here the man would never be 
hung," Robin heard some people saying as he walked 

Robin found that the gallows was erected, and a 
great crowd, as usual, assembled in front of the jail. 
He heard that the sheriff had gone inside the jail for 
the purpose of bringing the prisoner out ; and there 
was a buzz of expectancy amongst the people as they 
awaited the prisoner's coming out. 

Robin was perplexed to know how the matter 
could have gone so far without his hearing of it, and 
was almost afraid that single-handed he would have 
to undertake both the rescue of the prisoner and the 
slaying of the sheriff. 

Little John and his men, however, had been quicker 
about their work than Robin anticipated, and within 
a few minutes of Robin's arrival at the jail, he recog- 
nised several of his men in the crowd. 

Presently the door of the jail opened, and out came 
the sheriff, followed closely by the hangman, who led 
by a halter the poor wretch condemned to die. The 
poor man shook his head from side to side as he 
caught sight of the gallows, and walked with a feeble 
step after the hangman. 

As soon as the jail door was closed, Robin motioned 


Little John to stand beside it, so as to cut off re- 
treat in that quarter. Then Robin drew his sword, 
and, as the condemned man walked, Robin severed 
his bonds at a blow, and the next moment gave the 
hangman a savage thrust with the point of his sword, 
which, though it did not wound him very severely, 
made him scamper off into the crowd, where he was 
hustled and jostled, and altogether very roughly 

The sheriff appeared to be considerably alarmed at 
the sudden and unexpected attack. The poor pri- 
soner was not a member of his band, as Robin had 
been led to believe him, but a stranger to the town. 
As he had no connexion with Robin, the sheriff had 
not provided himself with the usual number of men, 
and he was therefore taken aback at the interference 
with the ordinary course of Nottingham law in the 
case of a poor thief. 

Drawing his sword, the sheriff cleared a circle in 
the crowd, and then looked with some agitation for 
an opponent. He was not long without one, for 
Robin came up to him with his sword drawn. 

" What does this mean?" asked the sheriff; "why 
dost thou interfere with the course of justice in this 
way ? The man is none of thine." 

" It 's not the prisoner I want," replied Robin, " but 
thee ; though if I save his life while I take thine I 
shall not regret my visit this day. Fifteen years 
ago," continued Robin, " thou basely shot my father, 
while he walked alone and unarmed in the forest. I 
have kept thy arrow from that day to this, and now, 


villain, thou must pay the forfeit of that foul crime 
with thy blood ; so prepare." 

With that Robin attacked the sheriff with such 
vigour as to leave him no opportunity of replying 
to the accusation. After fighting for a short time, 
Robin gave the sheriff a blow on his sword arm 
which caused him to drop his weapon. Instantly the 
sheriff fell on his knees, and cried piteously for 

" No, no," was Robin's reply ; " I can shew no 
mercy; thou hast plagued me long enough, and I 
should have slain thee long ago had I known that 
thou wast the murderer of my father." 

Calling Little John to him, Robin bade him bind 
the sheriff's hands behind his back, which was 
speedily accomplished. Then they dragged him to 
the gallows, which he had erected for the poor thief, 
who stood trembling beside one of Robin's men, so 
frightened as to be incapable of striking a blow in his 
own defence. 

The sheriff screamed for mercy, and struggled with 
his captors, but it was all of no avail, and in a few 
minutes he was hoisted on to the shoulders of Little 
John, the noose which hung from the gallows placed 
round his neck, and Little John, suddenly casting 
him off his shoulders, the sheriff swung struggling in 
the air. As the body swayed to and fro, Robin fitted 
the spliced arrow to his bow string, and sent the 
arrow swiftly to the sheriff's heart. So ends the 
story of Gammer's life. 

There was a fine uproar in the town when the 


sheriff's fate became known, but there were few who 
lamented his loss. Prince John, who happened, to 
arrive in Nottingham a few days after this event, 
gave orders that in future no Saxon should be elected 
sheriff of the town. He also inflicted a very heavy 
fine upon the Saxon inhabitants, which the newly- 
appointed Norman sheriff Inluck collected in such 
a way as to add still more to the numerous hard- 
ships suffered by the poor Saxon residents of Not- 


Robin quarrels with Little John, and attends Mass in Nottingham^ 
The Black Monk betrays Robin The fight in the Church, and 
Robin's capture Little John and Will slay the Black Monk 
The trick they played upon the Sheriff, his men, and the jailer 
Robin's release. 

j| OR several months after the death of the 
sheriff, Robin kept very quiet in the forest. 
So quiet was he, that at length he became 
restless for adventures ; and this preying 
upon his mind, brought about a succession of strange 
dreams. Robin always paid great attention to his 
dreams, having, like most of the Saxons, a supersti- 
tious regard for their meaning. So one morning he 
called Little John to him, and declared his belief that 
the Virgin Mary was angry with him because he had 
not attended mass for a long time ; and he had made 
up his mind to go that very day to a church in Not- 
tingham to the celebration of mass. 

" It would be well," said Little John ; " but thou 
must take twelve of thy best men with thee in dis- 

2 c 


guise, lest any of thy enemies in Nottingham molest 

" I fear no one," responded Robin, in such an angry 
"tone as Little John had never heard before. 

" Do as thou likest -about taking the men," said 
Little John ; " but at any rate I and Will must go 
with thee." 

" I will have none of thee," replied Robin ; " I can 
take care of myself." 

" Thou shalt not choose ; I and Will, without thy 
permission, will be there to serve thee." 

At this Robin gave Little John a blow with his 
hand. Such a thing had never taken place between 
them since their first encounter. 

Instantly Little John clapped his hand to his sword 
and said, 

" If thou hadst not been my master, thou wouldst 
have paid dear for that blow ; but since thou treatest 
me so badly, thou shalt get another in my place, for 
I '11 serve thee no more." 

Robin made no reply. He had not spoken of his 
intention to any one save Little John, and now, with- 
out further delay, he set ofT, content with a very 
simple disguise for the town. 

As soon as he had gone Little John sought Will, 
and told him what had occurred, repeating his deter- 
mination not to serve Robin any longer. But Will 
persuaded him to remain with them until evening, 
hoping that, in the meantime, Robin would return 
and make his peace with Little John. 

Meanwhile Robin proceeded on his way towards 


Nottingham, passed unobserved through the streets, 
and entered the Church of St Mary's, where mass was 
being celebrated. 

He knelt in front of the altar, and was very quickly 
absorbed in meditation and prayer. Now, there was 
not far from Robin one of the two monks whom he 
had forced to kneel and pray with him in the forest. 
Quietly observing Robin for some time, he recognised 
his face, and then left the church immediately. First 
of all, without confiding his secret to any one, he re- 
paired to all the gates and ordered them, in the sheriff's 
name, to be closed. Then the monk proceeded to the 
residence of the new sheriff, Inluck, and bade him get 
ready his armed men, because the king's great enemy 
was in the town, and was at that moment in St Mary's 

Inluck was overjoyed at the intelligence. He sum- 
moned about a score of men, armed them, and then 
directed them to proceed along some by-streets and 
meet him at the gate of the church. 

After this Blackbeard, the monk, returned to the 
church, and there, to his joy, he found Robin still 
kneeling in the same place, and apparently absorbed 
in prayer. 

Shortly afterwards the sheriff arrived, and . was 
quickly joined by his men. As they walked up the 
church, they made such a clatter as to arouse Robin, 
who, turning his head, saw to his alarm a body of 
men with drawn swords in their hands advancing 
towards him. Some of them had already placed them- 
selves between Robin and the altar. 


Then he thought in his heart of what Little John 
had wanted him to do that morning-, and he was 
sorely distressed. No time, however, was to be lost. 
The men were rapidly approaching him, service had 
been suspended, and all in the church had risen to 
their feet in surprise and wonder. 

Robin was not long in determining what to do. 
He drew his sword, placed his back against one of the 
pillars, and called for the first who should dare to 
attack him. 

Although the sheriff had led the men to the church, 
he did not seem at all disposed for an encounter of 
this kind. He called upon his men to surround Robin 
and beat his sword down. No more than three men, 
however, could get near Robin, owing to the con- 
tiguity of a pillar, and the wall of the church. 

Forced on by those behind, three men, willingly or 
unwillingly, found themselves standing face to face 
with Robin. 

Without waiting for them to commence, Robin 
struck at them with vigour. The men were terribly 
alarmed ; one ducked his head, and another dived 
head-foremost past him. As they becamed jammed 
in front of him, Robin was able to do terrible execu- 
tion amongst them. They stood like a timid flock of 
sheep before him, their weapons drawn, but with no 
heart to wield them. 

Robin made good use of his opportunity. He cut 
great gashes in their heads, and gave them such cuts 
on their arms as to make quite a heap of disabled 
men on the floor. Some fell with mortal wounds; 


others, more prudent than hurt, dropped to escape a 
blow, woefully afraid. Wherever they stood thickest, 
thither into their midst Robin pressed, and none 
dared to stand before him. He called aloud for the 
sheriff, and dared him to fight ; but he answered not. 
He was safely ensconsed in a little gallery, the en- 
trance to which he had fastened ; and from thence he 
gave orders, or shouted out remonstrances during the 
progress of the fight. 

As ill luck would have it, Robin stumbled over the 
body of one who lay on the floor, and in falling his 
sword flew out of his hand. The men who were still 
on their legs sprang upon him in an instant, and held 
him fast upon the ground. 

Then Inluck, seeing that Robin was safely caught, 
descended from the gallery, and assisted his men to 
bind the prisoner's arms. 

"Ah, ah, ah!" laughed the sheriff; "so my fine 
bird, thou wilt hang the sheriffs of Nottingham, wilt 
thou, and kill their men, and rob fat bishops, and slay 
the king's deer ? But prithee make haste and repent, 
for thy days are numbered." 

Robin spoke not in reply, for he remembered the 
hasty words he had used in the morning to the best 
of all his forest friends. 

After binding him, they dragged him to his feet; 
the church doors were ordered to be unlocked by 
Blackbeard, who had remained on guard over them, 
and the sheriff and his men marched along the streets 
with their prisoner, and lodged him in the common 


The capture having been effected, many of those 
who had fallen on the floor of the church rose to their 
feet, and began hobbling about the church, or sat on 
seats to have their wounds dressed. It was found 
that four of their number had been slain, and that of 
the remainder eight were severely wounded. 

The news spread rapidly in the town that Robin 
Hood had been taken prisoner in the church. 

The sheriff, to make doubly sure of his captive, 
ordered the jailer to put him into the strongest cell 
he had, and double-lock all the doors in the place. 
The jailer received his prisoner with grim humour, 
and gave him to understand by sundry noddings and 
jerkings of his head that he had nothing to expect 
but hanging, and that in a very short space of time. 

Down several flights of steps he led Robin, until 
they came to a cell which was about eighteen feet 
below the surface of the ground, and into which no 
ray of light ever penetrated. Into this place he 
thrust Robin, telling him as he bolted the door that 
he had better accustom his eyes to the darkness as 
soon as he could, because he would have enough of it 
ere long. 

Very soon after the departure of Robin from the 
forest, it occurred to Little John that Robin had, for 
some purpose which he had not disclosed, acted in 
the strange way which he had done ; and a singular 
apprehension took possession of him that Robin would 
get into difficulties. He communicated his fears to 
Will, and they both determined to follow on his track 
with as much speed as possible. They put on the 

ROBIN HOOn. 397 

disguise of monks, and wore swords beneath their 

When at length they did arrive at Nottingham, 
although it was only mid-day, to their astonishment 
they found the gate through which they were wont to 
pass closed. They were amazed at what they saw. 
Going up to the gate they shouted to the gate-keeper 
to open for them, but the man only laughed. There 
were a number of armed men about the walls, and by 
the noise in the streets they were convinced that 
something very unusual had happened. 

Little John called out to know, from the men on 
the town-wall, the reason of the gate being shut. 

The men stated that they could not tell what had 
happened, but that some one whom the king loved 
was in the town, and was about to be entertained by 
the sheriff. 

Upon this, all the men laughed. 

Little John and Will repaired to the next gate, and 
all the others in succession, but found them all shut ; 
and received evasive answers from all to whom they 
spoke, as to what was the matter in the town. 

While they waited about near one of the gates, it 
was suddenly opened, and Blackbeard, the monk, rode 
out. Seeing two of his brethren, as he supposed, he 
rode towards where they were lying on the grass, and 
asked them whither they were bound. 

" We are going into the town," Little John replied ; 
" but the churls will not open the gates to us." 

"That is little wonder," replied Blackbeard, "for 
there hath been such an affray in Nottingham this 


day as will make the king's heart glad, and many an 
abbot too, methinks." 

" Thou talkest riddles," Will rejoined. 

"Well, walk beside me for a short distance, and I 
will tell thee all about it," the monk said. 

Blackbeard turned his horse's head towards the 
forest, and Little John and Will accompanied him. 

" Thou must have heard of Robin Hood," said 

"He is an outlaw, who hath robbed many a good 
bishop," replied Little John, "and no monk wishes 
well to him." 

" True," responded Blackbeard ; " and at this very 
hour he lies in Nottingham jail, and he comes not 
out, I trow, until he is to be hung. He robbed me 
and my fellow once of a large sum of money, but the 
king's reward will beat that affair. Methinks I shall 
get nothing short of an abbey for my pains. Thou 
must know it was I that had him taken prisoner. I 
was in St Mary's Church at mass, and who should 
walk in, and kneel close to the altar, but Robin 
Hood, as bold as any true worshipper. He knelt him 
down upon the ground, and I stole out first to the 
gates, and ordered the men, in the name of the sheriff, 
to close them, and then to the sheriff's house, and 
bade him raise a number of men and go instantly to 
the church and take the notorious robber. When the 
sheriff got to the church, I fastened the doors, and 
guarded them until the fight was over. And what a 
fight it was ! Four of the sheriff's men were laid 
dead upon the ground, God rest their souls ! and 


near a dozen wounded men were left to hobble for the 
rest of their lives. At last they bound him, and now 
he is lodged in the jail. I am off at once to our 
abbey to get permission to ride to London to acquaint 
the king. In two days I am to be at the sheriff's 
house again, who will have letters ready for me to 
take to the king, acquainting him with the service I 
have done, and to ask his will concerning Robin." 

All the time the monk was talking, Little John and 
Will walked silently beside him, now and then ejacu- 
lating some short word of approval or satisfaction at 
the intelligence which the monk was communicating. 
They had got some distance from the town before he 
had finished his story. 

" Thou goest in two days to see the sheriff again, 
methinks thou saidst?" Little John observed. 

"Ay!" responded Blackbeard. 

" Thou wilt never see the sheriff more," Little John 
replied, in a tone of voice so stern and strange, that 
Blackbeard turned his head hastily to look at him. 

In a moment Little John seized him by the cowl 
and pulled him off the horse. Directing Will to lead 
the horse into the forest, Little John dragged Black- 
beard off the roadway amongst the trees, very much 
to the man's astonishment. When they had got some 
distance from the roadway. Little John flung the 
monk upon the ground and drew his sword. 

" What dost thou mean ?" exclaimed Blackbeard, in 
some alarm. 

" This much," was the reply, " that Robin Hood, 
whom thou hast betrayed, is our master; he is no 


robber, but a restorer of poor men's rights. He has 
only taken from you monks, that of which you de- 
spoiled the poor ; and thou has betrayed the noblest 
man that ever lived. Therefore, for thy pains, take 
that ;" so saying, Little John smote off the monk's 
head in an instant. 

The two men made a hole, in which they buried 
his body, and so left him in the forest. 

Their next thought was how they might rescue 
Robin. They had heard enough from the monk to 
assure them that no present danger was to be appre- 
hended from Robin's capture. So they mounted the 
monk's horse, and turned his head in the direction of 
the Greenwood Glade. Their hearts were more sorrow- 
ful than they had ever felt before. They rode slowly 
and silently through the forest for some time. 

At length Will said they must keep from Marian the 
news they had learned. Then it was agreed that, 
when two days had elapsed, one should keep the 
monk's appointment with the sheriff; and, meanwhile, 
they were to hold a consultation with the other leaders 
of Robin's band, as to what course they were to 

There were sundry inquiries made after Robin by 
several of the band, as they sauntered in at the close 
of the day, which were answered evasively by Little 
John or Will. 

Marian, however, was very uneasy when the even- 
ing meal was ended, and Robin did not make his ap- 

Will tried to persuade her that he was only on a 

R OB IN H O OD. 40 1 

harmless expedition in one of the neighbouring 
villages, and would be with them on the morrow. 

In the course of the night, Little John and Will 
took a number of the leaders aside, and told them 
quietly what had occurred. There was great conster- 
nation amongst the men on hearing the news ; but all 
were firmly resolved that he should never die on the 
gallows, or at the hands of the Sheriff of Nottingham. 

Various plans were discussed for effecting his re- 
lease ; and at length one, which promised most suc- 
cess, was agreed upon. In the morning the majority 
of the men, receiving mysterious hints from Little 
John and Will, strolled off into the forest, with as 
little apparent concern as possible. When they were 
all assembled at some distance from the glade, all 
the others received the information which had, as yet, 
only been communicated to the leaders. . 

The latter had the greatest difficulty in restraining 
the men; and proposals of the most rash character 
were made for the purpose of effecting Robin's im- 
mediate release. The plan which had been agreed 
upon by the leaders, they wisely kept to themselves. 

The men were divided into two bands, one portion 
was to assemble in the neighbourhood of the sheriff's 
house by noon on the following day, and the other 
half was to be secreted in the neighbourhood of the 
jail. All were to assume disguises of as varied a 
character as possible. It was further arranged that 
they were to enter the town in twos and threes, so as 
to escape notice. 

Little John and Will left the others in the forest, 


and immediately proceeded to Nottingham to com- 
plete their arrangements. They were both dressed in 
the same guise as Blackbeard. 

On the evening of the second day, they both re- 
paired to the sheriff's house. One knocked boldly at 
the gate, and both were admitted with signs of evident 
delight by the porter. 

The sheriff was in high glee when Will presented 
himself, personating, as he did, the dead monk. He 
told the sheriff that the required permission had been 
granted by his superior, who had further ordered his 
companion to accompany him on the journey. 

Inluck talked over the deeds of the preceding day, 
in evident good humour at the share he had had in 
the transaction, and Will and Little John both 
laughed heartily at the manner in which the sheriff 
had managed to keep out of the affray. 

The sheriff complimented the monk upon his 
adroitness in the matter, and besought the monk, 
while he was in London, to speak a word to the king 
in his (the sheriff's) favour. 

Will promised faithfully that when he got to Lon- 
don he would recommend the sheriff as deserving of 
the king's notice. 

The sheriff's heart bounded at the prospect of his 
future advancement, and the best wine in his cellar 
was ordered up. 

Will drank to Muck's health, and to the king's 
health ; and then the healths of every one of note in 
the town, and last of all, amid much laughter, to the 
health of Robin Hood. These health-drinkings had 


the desired effect upon the sheriff; and before the last 
toast was proposed, he was very drunk. 

Then Will produced a small parchment roll, which 
he pretended was an account of the fight and capture 
of Robin, and in which the sheriff's name and share 
in the transactions were duly set forth. To this 
document Will wanted the sheriff's seal, which he 
attached without hesitation. 

This accomplished, they remained drinking together 
until all the rest in the house were gone to their beds >" 
and then Little John and Will quietly carried the 
sheriff down-stairs to the cellar. He was so drunk as 
to be perfectly unconscious of what was going on, and 
was as quiet as could be desired. 

In the cellar they found a quantity of cordage ; and 
with some of it they bound the sheriff tightly to some 
staples in the wall, in an upright position. To prevent 
an alarm being given by him, they put a gag into his 

After making him perfectly secure, they fastened 
up the cellar door and barricaded it in such a way as 
to prevent any one from entering it without consider- 
able difficulty. 

The only other persons in the house were two men- 
servants, and those Little John and Will next pro- 
ceeded to visit. 

They found them sleeping very heavily, having been 
availing themselves of the opportunity presented by 
the arrival of the monks, to drink very freely. 

These men, after some, but useless, resistance, were 
bound back to back, in such a way as made it impos- 


sible for them to release themselves, and dragged to a 
distant lumber-room. They were also gagged, to pre- 
vent them giving an alarm. 

The two pretended monks then returned to the 
dining-room, and waited for the dawn of day. Never 
had night seemed so long and wearisome as that did 
to Robin's faithful friends. At length day came, and 
then the pretended monks left the house, taking care 
to fasten every door behind them as they went out, 
and made the best of their way to the jail. On seeing 
them emerge, those of Robin's band, who were in the 
neighbourhood, followed them down the streets. 

On arriving at the jail, Will knocked loudly, and 
after some time had elapsed, a little opening was 
thrust back in the door, and the face of the jailer was 

He scanned the faces and forms of the two monks 
with a curious half-suspicious look, and inquired their 

" We have come from the sheriff," said Will, " and 
are going up to London to see the king, and acquaint 
him with what has happened. See, here is the sheriff's 

Will opened the parchment roll and handed it to 
the jailer, who knew the sheriff's seal well. 

" But before we go," continued Will, " he would 
have us see the prisoner, and mark whether he is 
indeed safely locked up ; for if he escapes, the king 
would most surely hang the jailer." 

"Ay, and the sheriff too," the jailer muttered* 
" but there 's no fear of that,, my masters." 


At the same time he unlocked the door, and admit- 
ted the monks. The door was locked and bolted be- 
hind them, then from a recess in the wall he took down 
a great bunch of keys, and preceded his visitors along- 
some passages, and down the flight of steps which 
led to the cell in which Robin was confined. 

Inserting the key in the rusty lock, he managed, 
after some delay, to shoot back the lock, and then he 
called to Robin to come out, as the sheriff had sent 
two monks to speak with him. 

Robin did not stir. 

Then Little John called him by name, and bade 
him not keep them waiting. 

Robin recognised the voice, and came out instantly, 
but failed to recognise his friends, because the light 
confused him. 

The jailer stood holding the door in his hand, and 
looking on ; when, to his astonishment, the two 
monks grasped Robin by the hand. The next 
moment the jailer received such a poke in his ribs 
as sent him reeling into the cell which Robin had 
just left. Before he could rise to his feet, the door 
was locked and bolted. With the keys in his hands, 
Little John immediately led the way up-stairs again. 

Will threw the gown of a monk over Robin. 
Little John then unbolted and unlocked the gate, 
and the three passed out. 

There were several of Robin's men outside, who 
recognised him the moment he came out. 

Little John locked the gate of the jail, and then 
threw the keys over the wall. 


After this the three walked quietly down the 
streets and out of the town, followed by a number of 
their men in twos and threes. 

On arriving in the forest, Robin and Little John 
hastened off to the Greenwood Glade, while Will 
remained to bring up the men. 

As they journeyed through the forest, Robin said, 
" Little John, thou hast done me a good for an evil 
turn ; but thou must forgive me; it was not in my 
heart that I sought to vex thee. Henceforth thou 
shalt be the leader of my band, and I will serve 

Little John was deeply moved at Robin's words, 
but vowed he would never be other than plain Little 
John, and that he would follow Robin's fortunes to 
the day of his death. 

So Little John and Robin were reconciled, and the 
latter promised that he would never go unattended 
into Nottingham again. 

Marian was horrified when she found that Robin 
had really been in the power of the sheriff, but was 
contented when he repeated the promise he had given 
Little John. 

In the course of the day all the members oi 
Robin's band reached the forest, and in the evening 
there was a right merry feast in the glade, where 
the guests were entertained to celebrate Robin's 

The Sheriff of Nottingham and his men remained 
in their uncomfortable positions all night, and when 
the morning light stole into the cellar, and the sheriff 


began to look about him and put things together in 
his head, he could not comprehend how he came to 
be there, and fixed in such an uncomfortable manner. 
At first he thought he must have been drinking 
heavily, and* that his discomforts were the result of a 
heavy night's debauch. Then he tried to yawn, and 
found that his mouth would not shut. At length he 
discovered that his jaws were fastened open in a 
most remarkable way. He likewise discovered that 
his arms and feet were bound. He pondered all the 
events of the preceding day over in his mind, and at 
length, as hour after hour flitted by, and he became 
more and more sober, the truth that some trick had 
been played upon him by the monks took full pos- 
session of his mind. He struggled hard, but could 
not succeed in releasing himself. Afterwards he 
tried to call for help, but found that the most faint 
and inarticulate sounds only proceeded from his 
throat. So hour after hour passed, no one came to 
release him, and all he could do was to kick with 
his heels against some boards that lay at his feet. 

The men in the lumber-room were just as much 
perplexed in the course of the night as to what had 
happened to them. They arrived, after some con- 
siderable time, at the most natural conclusion re- 
specting it, which was, that they had been locked 
up in some cell for being drunk. They were sorely 
puzzled, however, to know by whose authority they 
had been so treated. Being in the dark, they could 
not tell when day dawned, and so they lay in the 
easiest possible position which they could get into 


and waited with as much patience as they were mas- 
ters of for their deliverance. 

Towards mid-day the sheriff was wanted on im- 
portant business, and so there were sundry knocks at 
his gate, which met with no response. Inquiries were 
made in the neighbourhood for the sheriff, and late in 
the afternoon the neighbours resolved to force their 
way into the house, and see what had become of him. 

The house was accordingly entered, and the rooms 
searched, when at length the sheriff was discovered 
in the cellar, bound in the way described. 

The first question the sheriff asked on being 
released was whether Robin Hood was safe ; but no 
one could tell, and he immediately set off to the jail, 
to ascertain for himself. He would make no explana- 
tions to those who had found him, as to the cause of 
his singular imprisonment. 

Several persons accompanied the sheriff to the 
jail, but they could get no admission. 

At length measures were obtained to force an 
entrance, and then the jailer could not be found any- 
where, and several hours elapsed before he was dis- 
covered. His story only confirmed the sheriff in his 
suspicions that he had been the victim of a deeply- 
laid plan, which had been well carried out by the 

On his return home he searched for his men, but 
without success. During the night, however, he was 
alarmed beyond measure by hearing an indistinct 
knocking in the house, and he left the house precipi- 
tately, believing it was haunted. 


The next morning a further search was instituted, 
and at last the two men were found in the lumber- 
room, in an exceedingly hungry and thirsty condition. 
They were released, and their story was so confused 
as only to perplex their master still more. 

The sheriff was very much afraid of the king get- 
ting to hear of Robin's capture and escape, and lived 
for several months in continual dread of being either 
heavily fined or hung for his negligence. 


Will's Visit to Nottingham His Betrayal by Senior Sneak Three 
heads, the Messenger, is unwittingly the Betrayer of a Secret 
Capture and Death of the Traitor How Will was to have been 
hung, but Inluck got a Roll in a Ditch instead. 

JHE trick played upon Sheriff Inluck by 
Robin's men, and the adroit manner in 
which that noted outlaw made his escape, 
induced the sheriff to offer a large reward 
to any one in Nottingham who could give such infor- 
mation as should lead not only to the capture of 
Robin, but to that of any of his men. This excited 
the cupidity of one of the band who resided in Nott- 
ingham, and he went to the sheriff and arranged with 
him for the betrayal of the very first rover that 
visited the town. The sheriff promised that he would 
not only give the man the reward which he had offered, 
but would also advance him to a position of trust in 
the town. 

The effect of Robin's escape was to make the band 
act a little more cautiously. 


A year and a half elapsed without any such dan- 
gerous risk being run. Two years passed by, and the 
members of the band visited Nottingham with as little 
regard for their personal safety as formerly. 

Upon one occasion Will went into the town to ob- 
tain some trifling articles that were wanted, and met 
with the traitor who had agreed to acquaint the sheriff 
when any member of the band visited the town. 
They conversed for a short time, and Will told the 
man what he had come to obtain. 

Immediately on their parting, this fellow reported 
to the sheriff what had occurred, and a strong force 
was dispatched to capture him. 

The -men surrounded the shop in which Will was 
standing, then the sheriff boldly entered it, clapped 
Will on his shoulder, and demanded his instant sur- 

Will replied by giving Inluck a blow that knocked 
him over the counter. 

The shop in which they were standing was that of 
a man who was a general dealer in all sorts of com- 
modities. There was seasoned wood to be obtained 
for bows, or the finished article ; quivers and arrows, 
manufactured by the very best makers in the town. 
There was every variety of cloth known at that 
period. Leather and hides for coats, belts for the 
waist, and swords of every size. Besides these, he 
dealt in necessaries for the table ; and he sold meal 
and flour in large and small quantities. 

It happened that behind the counter, at the point 
where Will was standing, was an open barrel about 


half full of meal. Into this Will pitched Inluck. He 
was a heavy man, and went right down into the meal, 
and there stuck until some of his men upset the barrel 
and released him ; but then he came out covered from 
head to foot with meal in such a way as to make him 
look more like a miller than the dignified Sheriff of 

Unfortunately for Will, he had no sword with him, 
so he fought with whatever he could lay hands upon. 

Barrels of several sorts were knocked over in the 
affray, and men tumbled head over heels into all sorts 
of queer corners, out of which the goods were pitched, 
to the dismay of the shopkeeper. The noise brought 
the man's wife into the shop, and the cellarman came 
up from below to see what was the matter, and he 
forgot to shut the trap-door after him. The row also 
caused a crowd to gather in the street, and those that 
had the chance helped themselves to some of the 
scattered articles. 

As soon as Inluck got his eyes clear from the meal, he 
mounted the counter, where he was out of Will's way, 
and shouted out many impossible orders to his men. 

The affray, however, came to an unlucky termi- 
nation for Will, for as he was retiring before the 
superior number of his assailants, he tumbled head- 
long into the cellar, and lay there half dead with his 

The sheriff's men descended, and he was soon 
bound with cords. After this a difficulty arose in the 
way of his exit, for the shopkeeper, finding his shop 
turned upside down, and to a great extent inside out, 


blockaded the doorway with his portly person, and 
demanded restitution before the prisoner was carried 

Inluck tried to persuade the shopkeeper that all 
would be made right, and vowed that Will should be 
hung within three days. 

The shopkeeper urged that hanging was a poor 
compensation to him ; and, for his part, he would pre- 
fer that Will's life should be spared, provided he pro- 
mised to pay the damage that had been done. 

Ultimately the sheriff pledged his word to pay for 
all the damage that had been done, and then he was 
allowed to depart. At the same time the sheriff made 
up his mind that the money should be raised by a tax 
upon the Saxons. 

Will was first of all conveyed to the sheriff's house, 
where he was confronted with the two men in the 
sheriff's employ, who had been bound one night by 
the two monks. The men, however, could not identify 
him, and the sheriff said it was not of the slightest 
consequence, as they could not do more or less than 
hang him. 

The night of the capture the scout was at the 
sheriff's house for the promised reward. Inluck paid 
him half the stipulated sum, and the remainder was 
to be paid on the execution of Will. This scout's 
name was Senior Sneak, and he had a brother named 
Junior Sneak, also of Robin's band, who resided in 
Mansfield. Senior pleaded for his brother's advance- 
ment, as well as his own, and the sheriff told him to 
get him to come to Nottingham without delay. 


The difficulty was, how to send a message to Mans- 
field ; and at length the sheriff got a learned monk to 
write a message to Junior Sneak, acquainting him 
with the capture of Will, and bidding him at once 
repair to Nottingham. The written scrap was com- 
mitted to the care of a noted beggar in Nottingham, 
who had a fixed round of towns through which he 
passed in pursuit of his calling, and who sometimes 
carried messages of a secret nature between friends. 
The man was known by the name of Old Threeheads, 
from a habit he had of wearing three hats upon his 
head one above the other. The two top hats he 
made use of to carry any such scraps of writing in, as 
the one with which he was now entrusted. When he 
started upon his journey, his hats were fastened to 
his head by a thick leather strap. He also carried a 
thick pikestaff in his hand. It was a noted stick, and 
many a roguish lad in Nottingham knew what the 
weight of it was. Over his shoulders he wore a cloak, 
which was so well padded that, in the thinnest part of it, 
there were more than six thicknesses of cloth. Such 
a cloak kept out the heaviest storm of rain. Three 
bags were suspended from his neck by means of 
leather straps. One of these bags he carried about 
half full of meal, and the others were to hold any 
donations in money or food that he received. There 
were, besides, many snug pockets in the folds of his 
thick cloak, in which he stored his money. The 
produce of years of begging were fastened in his 

To this man the letter was confided, with instruc- 


tions to carry it to Junior Sneak with as little delay 
as possible. 

After many explanations, Threeheads seemed to 
have got a glimmering of what was expected from 
him ; and, on setting out, received half the customary 
fee, the other half remaining to be paid on his return. 

On his way out of the town, Threeheads called at 
several abbeys from whence he sometimes got com- 
missions, and on this occasion was fortunate enough 
to have two more engagements. Although the man 
was remarkably faithful in all his transactions, and 
never betrayed the trust reposed in him, yet he had 
an unfortunate failing with regard to the verbal part 
of the instructions that were given him. 

This occasion was no exception to the rule; and, 
as he passed out of the town and along the roads, his 
old habit of mixing up the instructions commenced, 
and, as he repeated over and over again his verbal 
instructions, he began to grow muddled therewith. 
First of all, he ran them into one another, then he 
divided them in the wrong way ; next, he mixed 
them up promiscuously ; and, finally, put them to- 
gether according to his fancy, sharing the whole of 
the messages in equal portions. As the messages 
had previously been mixed all together, the result 
was, that he apportioned to each message a part of 
some other. 

Upon this occasion the three messages were of the 
most contradictory nature. He had been instructed 
to tell Junior Sneak that he was to come immediately 
to Nottingham. 


The second message was from one erring monk 
to another, and was to the effect that all had been 
found out, and that Brother No. I was going to run 

Message the third was directing the immediate 
withdrawal of one brother from his abbey for pru- 
dential reasons, which were understood only between 
the brethren. 

It was always the rule for Threeheads to carry the 
messages with which he was entrusted in this double 
form in his head, and in his hats, in case of any acci- 
dent befalling the written messages. 

The poor man's memory was destined to be still 
further perplexed by an event that came upon him 
most unexpectedly, as he walked through the forest. 
This was a meeting with Robin Hood. 

Robin was taking a stroll for his own pleasure, and 
to see what he could pick up, when he met Three- 
heads, the beggar. As he approached, Robin eyed 
him with some curiosity, and was at first puzzled to 
make out what he had on his head. When Three- 
heads, however, came up to where Robin was, the 
latter saw that the uncommon height of the stranger 
was produced by the peculiar head-gear that he 

" Good day," quoth Robin ; but Threeheads made 
no reply. 

" Tarry, tarry !" cried Robin ; but still the man 
went on. 

He was busily engaged in going over his messages, 
like a monk telling his beads ; and was, at the particu- 


lar moment when Robin spoke, in a little difficulty 
with them. 

Seeing that the man made no reply, Robin rose 
very leisurely, and, going in advance of Threeheads, 
bade him stand still, while he took a good look at 

But the beggar was very wroth, and raised his staff 
to give Robin a blow, whereupon the latter, with a 
dexterous thrust, cast Threeheads' staff out of his 

"What dost thou mean?" quoth the beggar. 
* Thou art a wild fellow to treat a poor beggar like 
this !" 

" I came to meet thee," was Robin's reply, "and it 
is not mannerly to refuse to speak when one gives a 

" Thou art a forest rover, methinks some one be- 
longing to Robin Hood's band ; but thou wilt all be 
served as the one now lying in Nottingham Jail will 
be the day after to-morrow." At the same time he 
gave significant expression to his words. 

" Thou art a riddler," Robin replied ; tf there is no 
one belonging to Robin Hood's band at this present 
time in any jail." 

" But I say there is," the beggar said, with an air 
of positive knowledge ; " and I have a letter from the 
man who captured him, Senior Sneak, to his brother 
at Mansfield, telling him it 's all found out." 

" I must see that letter," said Robin." 

" That thou shalt not," quoth Threeheads. 

Robin repeated his demand thrice, but Three- 


heads stood firm. With a blow from his staff, Robin 
deftly cast the beggar's hats from his head ; when, 
seeing that Robin was determined, Threeheads fell 
on his knees and begged for mercy. 

" Give me the letter," was all that Robin said. 

" It 's in the middle hat," quoth the beggar. 

Robin tore the hats asunder, and discovered three 

" Now," said he to Threeheads, " come with me 
into the forest." 

The beggar rose from his knees, and, picking up his 
hats, proceeded in the direction which Robin indi- 
cated, and was not allowed to stop until he came upon 
the members of Robin's band in the second glade. 

There they found Friar Tuck and Alan, both of 
whom were slightly skilled in reading. The three 
letters were immediately handed to them, and, after 
some little trouble, they were deciphered. 

The whole band was called together, and the con- 
tents of Sneak's letter read aloud. When it was 
thus discovered that Will was in jail there was the 
utmost excitement amongst the men ; and they were 
unanimous in their determination that the sheriff's 
sentence on Will should not be carried into effect. 

A council was held, to take into consideration the 
betrayal of trust that had taken place, and at length 
it was determined that Senior Sneak should be 
brought into the forest by some means. Threeheads 
was to be the medium of communication, and 
readily consented, for a sum of gold, to return to 
Nottingham, and deliver a letter to the betrayer of 


Will. The beggar was solemnly sworn to secresy, 
and vowed he would do Robin's behest. 

A letter was accordingly written, purporting to be 
from Junior Sneak, asking Senior to meet him in the 
forest, on the next day after the letter was delivered, 
so as to take him into the town. 

Threeheads was immediately dispatched with the 
letter back to Nottingham. The other two messages 
and letters he committed to the care of one of Robin's 
men, who was specially commissioned to deliver 

The same evening Threeheads returned to town, 
and delivered his letter to Senior Sneak, having on 
the road concocted a very fair story about his journey. 

Senior Sneak made himself master of the contents 
of his epistle, and in the afternoon of the following 
day strolled out very unsuspectingly to meet his 
brother. He was very busy castle-building with the 
reward of his roguery, and had strolled out several 
miles, when suddenly he was startled by the appari- 
tion of Robin in the roadway. If his master had 
dropped from the sky, he could not have surprised 
Senior more. Instantly the truth flashed through 
his mind, his treachery had been discovered, and 
the wretched man trembled in every limb. 

Robin stood still in the roadway, nor spoke one 
word ; and the unhappy mail, unable to conceal his 
emotion, fell down upon his knees, and in the most 
piteous terms begged for mercy. 

"What hast thou done?" inquired Robin, "why 
art thou alarmed ?" 


But the man answered nothing, only, with tears 
streaming down his face, he continued to beg 
piteously for mercy. 

Again and again Robin asked him what was the 
matter ; but there was something in his voice and 
manner that told the unhappy culprit all had been 
discovered. After the parley had lasted some time, 
Robin gave a low whistle, and immediately Little 
John, Scathelock, and several others came out of the 
forest. The wretched man was immediately bound, 
and led away into the forest, in the direction of the 
second glade. As they walked along, Robin blew 
three loud blasts upon his horn. 

Sneak did not cease shedding tears all the while ; 
he felt that his fate was sealed. On reaching the 
glade he was bound to a tree and left. 

In the course of a few hours all the members of 
Robin's band, from the several villages round about 
Sherwood, began to arrive at the glade, and as they 
entered they inquired eagerly on what expedition 
they were going to be engaged. 

This was the evening preceding the execution of 
Will. When all the men had arrived a circle was 
formed, having near its centre the tree to which 
Sneak was bound. It was not at first known who 
this man was, because his head was covered. 

When the ring had been formed, Robin stepped 
into the centre, and asked, in a tone of voice that 
sounded unfamiliar to all present, what was the 
reward due to treachery. 

All present answered with one voice, " Death !" 


Immediately Robin tore the covering from the 
head of Senior Sneak, and a shout of anger rose from 
the band as Robin exclaimed, " See the traitor!" 

Junior Sneak was present, and seemed horrified at 
the discovery. 

Standing by Senior's side, Robin told the band how 
he had betrayed Will into the hands of the sheriff of 
Nottingham, and how he had had a letter written to 
his brother in Mansfield, inviting him to come to 
Nottingham to share with him the reward of his 

The letter was produced, and read by Friar Tuck 
and Alan to the assembled band. 

Junior Sneak was overcome with grief at hearing 
what his brother had done; and, sitting down upon 
the grass, wept bitterly. 

A second time Robin demanded, what was the 
punishment due for the offence, and again the same 
word was repeated " Death !" 

Turning to the culprit, Robin asked him whethe* 
he had anything to say, 

He replied, " Nothing, save to ask mercy." 

" No mercy can be shown to a betrayer," was 
Robin's reply. 

He was, by Robin's directions, unbound, and 
marched for some distance into the forest ; then, 
when they found a tree convenient for the purpose, 
they halted. A rope was hung over one of the boughs 
and fastened round the man's neck. Six members of 
the band took hold of the end of the rope, and in an 
instant the culprit was swinging lifeless in the air. 


His body was aftenvards buried under the tree, and a 
cross was cut in the bark to mark the spot. The 
band then returned to the glade. 

The next morning was the time fixed for the exe- 
cution of Will. He had been locked up by the jailer 
in the same cell which had been occupied by Robin 
Hood, and the jailer had been exceedingly vigilant 
to guard against surprise. 

Will spent the time between his capture and the 
morning fixed for his execution in a very unhappy 
frame of mind. He had racked his brains in vain 
to account for his capture, and wondered whether 
Robin would hear of it in time to prevent his execu- 
tioli from being carried into effect. 

The gallows was erected in front of the jail, the 
sheriff himself superintending all the details of con- 

Very early that morning Robin and many of his 
men were in the town prying about, and before the 
hour arrived there were nearly a hundred of Will's 
true friends about the jail, and near the gate through 
which they hoped to escape. 

When the finishing strokes were being put to the 
gallows, Robin, standing by the sheriff's shde, heard 
some expressions of joy at what was about to be done, 
fall from the sheriffs lips. 

After examining everything, Inluck knocked at ' 
the door of the jail, was admitted, and in a few 
minutes the door was again thrown open, and Will 
came out, bound, and guarded on every side. 

He scanned the crowd eagerly, but the throng was 


so great that he did not recognise his friends. Turn- 
ing to the sheriff, he craved a boon before he died. 
It was, that one arm should be freed and a sword 
given him, and a dozen men set before him. 

The sheriff declined the offer, declared that nothing 
should save him from a dog's death, and said he 
would treat in like manner every member of Robin's 

Then Will begged that his arms might be unbound, 
and that he might be allowed with his fists to do 
battle against the sheriff's men armed with swords. 

Still the sheriff persisted in refusing. 

While Inluck was speaking, he had got with his 
prisoner into a part of the street where the crowd was 

Suddenly, a tall man elbowed his way through the 
men who were guarding Will, and with a quick stroke 
severed his bonds. 

This was Little John. 

Finding his arms freed, Will understood what was 
intended, and snatching a sword out of the hands of 
one of the sheriff's men, waved it in the air with a 
loud shout, and then brought it down upon the head 
of his nearest guard, felling him to the ground. 

" Place thy back to mine," cried Little John, and 
immediately they stood back to back ; and, with their 
swords, they quickly made a clear space round them. 

The crowd fell back instinctively, but cheered the 
prisoner loudly. The sheriff's men made a show of 
fighting when they saw but two men in their midst ; 
but they soon found themselves surrounded by more 


than eighty of Robin's band, and the fighting became 
rather too serious for them. 

Robin had followed closely at the heels of the 
sheriff, and as soon as Little John had struck the first 
blow, he seized the sheriff from behind by the nape of 
his neck, and gave him such a grip as made him fancy 
some strange mistake had been made by his own men. 

" Hallo !" he cried, " what 's this, what 's this ; I 'm 
the sheriff!" 

" I know that," was Robin's response; " and it's the 
sheriff I 'm going to hang." 

The sheriff, however, was not at all willing that this 
should be done, and called loudly for assistance, 
though none came ; because all his men were too 
busily engaged defending themselves. He looked on 
the crowd of people round him, and again cried for 
help, but they only mocked him. 

Robin shook his prisoner as a cat shakes a mouse, 
and wrung him by the neck as if he would have 
twisted off his head. At length Robin spied where a 
very dirty ditch ran in the roadway ; knocking the 
sheriff's legs from under him, he flung him in, and 
while he lay floundering about, to the intense delight 
of the people, Robin hastened away to assist the main 
body of his men. 

Will and Little John were standing side by side 
then, and many of the sheriff's men were lying about 
the ground. They stood no chance against the vigor- 
ous onslaught that had been made upon them, and at 
length beat a hasty retreat, leaving Robin and his 
men masters of the field. 


Seeing no further opposition, Robin gave orders ta 
fly to the gate, and in half an hour the whole band 
was resting beneath the shade of an old oak in the 

" I never expected to have seen you again," said 
Will. " It was the strangest thing that ever happened 
to our band, none of the sheriff's men were about 
when I entered the town." 

The story of his betrayal was soon told him, 
and also the manner in which the offender had been 

When the sheriff found himself in the gutter, he 
rolled over several times, and was then dragged on to 
his feet by some sympathising Saxon ; but he cut 
such a droll figure, that the crowd roared with laughter. 
His face appeared to have been completely changed 
by his fall, and thick mud of a most unsavoury odour 
dropped from his face and limbs. His clothes, too, 
were in like manner thickly coated -with the filth into 
which he had fallen ; and, as he walked along the streets 
towards his home, he exclaimed again and again^ 
"The very devils are in league with Robin Hood !" 

In the evening he sent for Senior Sneak, almost 
inclining to the suspicion that a trick had been played 
upon him by that man, and when he could not be 
found, he stormed furiously, and vowed that he would 
never trust a Saxon more. 

The gallows were taken down amid the derisive 
cheers of the people, and the beams carried back to 
the jail, there to lie until they were again wanted. 

The jailer had watched the prisoner out with evi" 




dent pride at having been able to keep him so securely, 
and when the uproar in the streets commenced, he 
saw, to his dismay, through a hole in the door, that, 
after all, the sheriff's men were not able to keep their 

The story of how the sheriff would have hung a 
Saxon, but got a roll in a ditch instead, was told on 
many a winter's night afterwards, amid much merry 
laughter, in the houses of the Saxons of Nottingham. 


The Bishop of Hereford ventures into Sherwood Forest again He 
chases Robin Hood, and captures Widow Hardlock The old 
Woman is released, and the Bishop taken prisoner How the 
Bishop was treated Robin is obliged to disperse his Band, and 
takes Sanctuary. 

IN the course of the year 1211 the Bishop of 
Hereford had occasion to pass through 
Sherwood Forest on temporal, not spiritual, 
matters, and travelled with a large escort. 
Returning through the forest by the same route he 
had gone, he very unexpectedly came upon Robin 
Hood, walking alone. 

Seeing so large a company with the bishop, Robin 
thought discretion was the better part of valour, and 
so he took to his heels as hard as he could. 

The bishop, however, had recognised his old 
enemy, and, seeing him try to escape, called out to 
his followers to capture him, that he was no other 
than Robin Hood. In a moment some of the boldest 
of the bishop's men started off in pursuit, accom- 
panied by the bishop himself. 


Robin had made for the heart of the forest, but 
was not fleet tnough to get out of sight before his 
enemies were in full chase after him. The bishop 
kept one eye steadily fixed upon Robin's retreating 
figure, and the other upon his faithful followers. 

When the bishop came upon Robin, he had been 
thinking of other things than meeting with so distin- 
guished a stranger, and was rather nonplussed at the 
sight of so many persons. Remembering his expe- 
rience in Nottingham Jail, he was not at all willing 
to combat against such odds. As he ran, he cast an 
occasional glance behind him, to see what was going 
on, and was rather alarmed to find that the bishop 
and his men were in full cry after him. 

Robin bethought him of the widow Hardlock's 
cottage near his parents' grave, and immediately 
doubling his speed, he ran thereto. The woman was 
sitting at her spindle spinning. She recognised 
Robin as he came almost breathlessly towards her, 
and guessed that he was in trouble. 

" I am pursued," gasped Robin as well as he could, 
" exchange dresses with me, and before you get far I 
will rescue you again." 

He threw off his green dress, and doffed his cap, 
and the woman tossed off her gown and cap. The 
exchange was speedily effected, and then, while 
Robin sat down to the spindle the woman hid herself 
in a corner of the room beneath some hides. 

The bishop caught a glimpse of Robin as ,he ran 
into the cottage, and, with a loud exclamation of jo^ 
declared that his men's fortunes were made, as Robin 


would be their prisoner. He directed them to sur- 
round the place, so as to prevent the possibility of 
escape, and, followed by two or three, boldly entered. 
Looking round the room, he caught sight of a leg 
protruding from the heap of hides, and, with a loud 
laugh, he pointed this out to his men. The leg was 
seized, and Robin, as they thought, was immediately 
dragged out. 

On catching sight of his face, one of the men said, 
" Tis the ugliest man I Ve seen for many a day." 

Said the bishop, " Be warned by his example. Sin 
always mars the countenance, and makes the young 
man prematurely old." 

Their poor prisoner still held a bow in his hand, 
and a quiver full of arrows was slung at his back. 

Thongs were produced, and the prisoner's arms 
were quickly bound to his side. He was then 
mounted on the bishop's own horse, a milk-white 
steed, while the bishop contented himself with a 
dapple grey, belonging to one of his men. Taking 
hold of the bridle of the white horse, the bishop bade 
his men fall in quickly, and hasten off before any- 
thing happened to deprive them of their prisoner. So 
they made off as rapidly as they could. 

Robin watched them out of sight, and then hurried 
off into the forest in the direction of the Greenwood 

It chanced that the same morning Little John and 
Will, after Robin's departure, made up their minds 
to have a stroll through the forest in search of an 
adventure, and Robin met them as, in his woman's 


guise, he hastened through the forest. He wondered 
whether they would recognise him, so made no sign. 

The two men looked with surprise at the figure of 
the woman. It was an unusual thing to meet with a 
woman walking alone in the forest, and all their 
Saxon prejudices were awakened at the sight. 

" This is some witch," said Little John. " I hate 

"Then there's ill-luck in store for us," Will ob- 

" Let us shoot her," Little John proposed, " lest she 
bewitch us." 

With that he strung his bow, and placed an arrow 
upon the string. Robin thought the joke had gone 
far enough, so snatching the cap from his head, he 
called out loudly upon both by name. 

On hearing the well-known voice Little John 
dropped his bow, and then a hearty laugh told of 
the discovery they had made. When they came up 
to him, Little John declared that if Robin had not 
spoken, in another moment an arrow would have 
cleaved his heart; but Will said nothing, only he 
turned Robin round and round admiringly. 

There was, however, no time to be lost, and Robin 
told them in a few words what had occurred. 

" How many men are in the glade to-day?" asked 

" Near upon sixty," was the reply. 

" Summon them at once," said Robin, "and let us 
catch this bishop before he leaves the forest, and 
teach him another lesson about meddling with us." 


By Robin's direction Will sounded his horn, and in 
a very short time all the men were assembled, and, 
armed with bows and arrows, were on their way to 
trap the bishop. After a couple of hours' quick 
walking they came out upon the high road, at a 
point where there was a sharp bend. After waiting 
some time they heard the voices of people in the 

There was considerable merriment going on, to 
judge from the noise that was made. Then a voice 
was heard singing a song in praise of Robin Hood, 
and an extra verse was added in praise of the Bishop 
of Hereford for capturing the outlaw. While they 
were loudly applauding the singer, the bishop with 
his prisoner came round the turn in the roadway, and 
a sudden silence fell upon the whole of his train. 
There, drawn up close beside the roadway, was a 
body of men, all wearing the same green dress, with 
plumed caps, and all armed with bows and arrowc. 
Robin stood in the centre of the roadway, and leaned 
upon his bow. On getting sight of such a formidable 
array, the bishop was evidently much alarmed. 

" Who is this man that stands so boldly in the 
roadway ?" the bishop called out ; " and who are these 
men that are threatening passengers on the king's 
highway ?" 

While he spoke a sudden conviction seemed to 
Jake hold of his mind, for he first looked into the 
face of the prisoner who rode beside him, and then at 
Robin standing in the roadway. 

Robin made no reply to the bishop's queries. 



11 Marry, I think this must be the man they call 
Robin Hood," said the old woman. 

" Then, who now are you ?" the bishop asked. 

" I am only a poor old woman, whom Robin Hood 
has oft befriended," was her reply. " Of a truth the 
Bishop of Hereford is a cunning man to carry off an 
old woman." 

The bishop dropped the rein of his prisoner's horse, 
and his teeth were heard to chatter in his head from 
very fear. 

His band was also alarmed at such a strong body 
of men, which had clustered together in the middle of 
the roadway. 

Robin still remained silent, and the bishop, partly 
recovering from his fear, gave his horse a smart dig. 
The horse made a bolt, but Robin caught the bridle 
as it started, and swinging the horse round suddenly, 
the bishop fell off. 

Robin bade Little John take care of the bishop's 
horse, and then advancing to the old woman, doffed 
his cap, and invited her to dine with him and his 
" merrie men," and also with the bishop and his 
friends, in the forest that day. 

The bishop's men were then ordered to lay down 
their weapons, or Robin threatened to fire a shower 
of arrows amongst them. The men immediately 
threw upon the ground whatever weapons they pos- 

The bishop, after his fall, lay on the ground for 
some time unconscious ; but no attention was paid to 
him, so he soon came round and sat up, looking first 


at Robin's men, and then at the old woman, appa- 
rently unable to comprehend the events of the day. 

At first Robin's men could not make out the mean- 
ing of what they saw, the disguise worn by the old 
woman was so complete. Robin explained the posi- 
tion of affairs in a few words, and amid roars of 
laughter from his men, in which many of the bishop's 
followers could not forbear joining. 

He bade the bishop sever the woman's bonds, 
which his lordship did, but with a wondrously bad 
grace, receiving as his reward a box on the ears from 
the trusty dame for having had her bound so tightly. 
Then the old lady descended, and having swung her 
arms round her head once or twice, she challenged the 
bishop to have a stand-up fight on the spot, an hon- 
our which his lordship very resolutely declined, and 
seated himself on the grass again. Robin's men called 
out to her to " go into him, and punish him on the 
spot." The woman rolled up the sleeves of her green 
tunic, and bade the bishop stand upon his feet. But 
he sat still upon the grass, though it was noticed that 
he watched the woman's movements with a troubled 
look ; and, as she danced about him squaring her fists 
in his face, and making feint strokes at his head, he 
dodged from her blows with amazing quickness. 

It was evident that the bishop was not of a pugna- 
cious turn of mind, or else it had all been taken out 
of him by his capture. 

After some time had been spent in the littie game, 
Robin called the old dame away, and remounted her 
upon her milk-white steed. 


Robin directed some of his men to lead the way 
into the forest, and ordered the bishop's party to 
follow. The bishop was again placed on horseback, 
and Robin holding the bridle-rein, brought up the 
rear of the cavalcade. They had not proceeded far, 
however, before the old woman rode to the rear, and 
vowed, as the bishop had honoured her by riding with 
her so far, she would not forsake him now that she 
had fallen into better company. 

So they passed with many jokes and gibes to the 
rendezvous, where preparations for a grand feast had 
been going on. The bishop made up his mind to 
suffer some rough treatment, and was silent and 

On arriving at the glade, the bishop was introduced 
to Marian and Ellen, who welcomed him heartily, but 
expressed their astonishment at seeing him again. 

Then the old woman was introduced, and the good 
turn she had done narrated, which seemed to cause 
immense fun. 

At the feast, the bishop was placed at the head of 
the table, supported on one side by Marian, and on 
the other by the woman, who still wore her disguise, 
and such marked attentions were paid to the bishop 
as he had never received before even from his own 
people. He had very little appetite, however, for 
thinking of what would succeed. His men, on the 
contrary, ate heartily, and fraternised with Robin's 
men right warmly. 

After dinner, Robin called for the bill, and Little 
John brought in a strip of parchment, which was 


written all over with the quaintest devices, and look- 
ing at the bottom, he declared that the bishop had 
1000 to pay. 

His lordship heard the sum-total with a groan. 

Robin bade Will ascertain the contents of the 
bishop's saddle-bags. 

Little John had set two men to watch these during 
dinner, having discovered, by a slight examination, 
that they contained that which would reward a closer 

Will unfastened the saddle-bags, and poured the 
contents of the bags out on a mantle. On being 
counted, it was found that there was just 500. 

This, by Robin's direction, was immediately trans- 
ferred to a certain strong box, of which only the lead- 
ers knew the exact situation. Turning to the bishop, 
Robin inquired how he would pay the remainder. 

The bishop declared that he would do anything 
that Robin pleased, and made loud protestations of 
his great respect for him, whereat Robin only 

"What is the worth of a promise?" Robin de- 
manded ; but the bishop attempted no reply. 

Robin said he would forgive his guest on condition 
that he complied with his request, which was, first 
that he would sing a mass for him and his men. 

At first the bishop refused, whereupon Robin had 
him bound to a tree, and he vowed that he should 
never be released until he did what he had been 

After a little delay, the bishop began in a voice the 


very opposite to that proceeding from a joyous heart ; 
and all Robin's men and his own standing round, mass 
was sung through. 

Night was now advancing, and Robin generously 
declared he would at that time impose no further con- 
dition. He assisted the bishop to mount his dapple 
grey, preparatory to taking leave of his host. But 
the bishop protested that it was a horse unworthy for 
a bishop to ride, and prayed that he might have his 
milk-white steed again. Robin said the white horse 
he had himself given to the old woman, and it was not 
likely she would be willing to give it up to him with- 
out a recompence. 

The bishop had no money left, therefore he could 
not buy, and Robin declared he had taken a fancy to 
it, and should become a purchaser. 

Thereat the bishop grew angry, and stormed at 
Robin, calling him wild names. So, for a punishment, 
he was dragged from the horse, and then made to 
mount with his face to the horse's tail, which was given 
to him in his hand to hold. In this way he was con- 
ducted through the forest a considerable distance, to 
the merriment of all the men. At parting, Robin gave 
him a friendly hint, that the next time he came to cap- 
ture him, he was to be sure and not make any such 
mistake as he had committed that day. 

Months elapsed, and Robin and his band remained 
in undisturbed possession of the forest ; but then news 
came that the sheriff, Inluck, had made such repre- 
sentations to the king, seconded by the bishop of 
Hereford and other prelates, as had induced him ta 


dispatch a fresh force of soldiers to Nottingham. 
These men had instructions to remain until they had 
succeeded in capturing Robin, and dispersing the 
members of his band. 

Upon hearing this, Robin disposed of all the mov- 
able goods he possessed ; and having divided all the 
money amongst the band, preparations were made for 
an encounter with the soldiers. 

Marian, Ellen, Friar Tuck, and one or two others ' 
who were not fighters, but very useful members of the 
band, were directed to remain in the Greenwood Glade, 
and not to depart thence without Robin's directions. 

Robin did not remain undisturbed very long. In 
the latter part of 1212, a scout from Nottingham 
brought him intelligence of the arrival of the king's 
soldiers, and the very next day the royal proclama- 
tion concerning Robin was read in the market-place. 
A large reward was offered for his capture, and severe 
penalties threatened for those who should, after that 
notice, give succour to him in any shape or way. 
There were many of Robin's friends who heard the 
announcement, and forthwith took steps to acquaint 
him with what had taken place. 

On a given day, the whole band marched into the 
forest in search of Robin. They wandered along the 
forest roads, and lost themselves amongst the trees ; 
but day after day passed without their ever seeing any 
signs of Robin and his band. The only intimation of 
his presence in the forest was the occasional sound of 
a horn ; but the more they sought to trace the sound, 
the more bewildered did they become ; and each sue- 


ceeding day they returned to Nottingham weary and 
despairing of success. 

After several weeks had elapsed, the soldiers hav- 
ing become dispirited, Robin determined to try their 
patience by a trick. He divided his band into six 
portions, so that no more than ten men were under 
any one leader ; and these bands were directed to 
sound a horn occasionally as they wandered in the 
innermost recesses of the forest. The leader of the 
soldiers came to a conclusion similar in purpose, and 
divided his band into parties of twenty, giving them 
instructions to search the forest thoroughly. 

Robin found out what had been done, and imme- 
diately joined his sections. Then he marched them 
to a part where a band of soldiers was likely to pass, 
and ordered them to conceal themselves behind the 
trees. The sound of a horn soon attracted the notice 
of one of the small bands of soldiers, and Robin 
managed to shew himself once or twice without 
exciting their suspicion, and very adroitly led them 
to the spot where all his men were concealed. One 
or two of the soldiers more eager than the others 
advanced to lay hold of Robin, who called out in a 
loud voice, "The king's soldiers!" the next moment 
his men appeared, and the soldiers found themselves 
surrounded by a force outnumbering them three 
times. The forest rovers had arrows fitted to their 
bows, and Robin called upon the soldiers to lay down 
their arms or they were all dead men. After some 
shew of resistance the men laid down their arms, 
which were collected by two of Robin's men, and 


then the forest rovers bound the soldiers with leather 
thongs to the trees, and left them. He sounded his 
horn several times, and then Robin and his men 
moved forward hastily, in hopes of intercepting 
another party of soldiers. In a few seconds there 
was the sound of another horn, and the forest rovers 
a second time hid themselves behind the trees. Then 
Robin leaned his back against a tree, and blew three 
loud blasts. These were not answered, but Robin's 
sharp ear caught the sound of coming footsteps, and 
in a few minutes a second band of twenty men made 
their appearance. This was headed by the com- 
mander of the whole force, Sir Thomas Bullhead, an 
impetuous young officer, fresh from London life, 
whose zeal had attracted the king's notice, in certain 
enterprises in which he had employed him. His 
attention had been attracted by the sound of the 
horn, and he led his men forward without delay. 
He fell into the trap Robin had prepared for him 
very speedily, and was within a few yards of Robin 
before a single suspicion was aroused. Sir Thomas, 
in a commanding tone, called upon Robin to lay 
down his bow, and submit to the clemency of the 

Robin made no reply, but stood still. 

Sir Thomas immediately advanced to him, laid a 
hand upon his shoulder, and said, " You are my pri- 

A hearty laugh was the only response. 

Not knowing what to make out of him, Sir Thomas 
got into a rage, and repeated, in a still louder tone gf 


voice, " I say, thou forest rover, thou art my pri- 

" Not quite," quoth Robin ; and then he shouted 
aloud, " In the name of Robin Hood, my men !" 

Instantly there appeared all the members of his 
band ; they completely encircled the soldiers, and the 
gallant Sir Thomas in a moment saw he had been 

It was now Robin's turn. He laid his hand upon 
the shoulder of the knight, and said, " Thou art my 
prisoner, Sir Knight, and thy men must lay down 
their arms at once, as the purchase of their lives." 

The knight looked round him with a troubled 
countenance, and, seeing the odds so great against 
him, immediately ordered his men to lay down their 

The arms were collected, and the men were after- 
wards bound to trees like their comrades had been; 
but for this purpose they were led away from the 
spot where they had submitted. 

Sir Thomas was sorely troubled when he saw them 
fed away, one by one, bound ; but Robin assured 
him that no life should be taken. 

When all had been bound save Sir Thomas, Robin 
led him into that part of the forest whither his men 
had been taken, and then he discovered, to his sur- 
prise, that not fewer than forty men were bound to 
the trees. As he was led amongst the trees, some of 
the captives could not restrain a smile at seeing their 
commander in the same mess as themselves. 

Robin afterwards made him kneel upon the ground, 


and take an oath upon his sword that he would never 
molest a forest rover again. This the knight swore. 
He was then bound to a tree. 

At parting, Robin gave him a horn, and bade him 
sound it lustily after he had departed, and it would 
be sure to bring help and relief. 

Leaving them in this state, Robin took his de- 
parture, carrying away with him all the arms belong- 
ing to the soldiers. When they had got some dis- 
tance away they heard the sound of the horn, and 
before long there was another horn sounded, so that 
the forest rovers concluded that help was at hand for 
the soldiers, and that they would not have to spend a 
night in the forest. 

On being released, Sir Thomas told an exagge- 
rated story of the force that Robin had ; and the 
same night in Nottingham, he summoned the sheriff 
and the governor of the castle, and demanded that a 
large number of soldiers should at once be furnished 
to him, to strengthen his own band, and complete the 
capture of the noted outlaw. 

After several days had elapsed, Robin found that 
fresh soldiers were in the forest, searching it in every 
direction. He found the greatest difficulty in keep- 
ing clear of these men. At length the search became 
so unpleasantly severe, that Robin determined to 
disband his force, and retire for a time. Summoning 
all his band, he told them of his intention, and 
directed them to repair to the neighbouring villages, 
and remain there until the search ceased, and then he 
promised he would return again. 


The forest was so closely invested that, for several 
days after they had arrived at this determination, the 
men dared not move out of their glade. At length 
they managed, by leaving a few at a time, to reduce 
the number left behind. Two messengers were dis- 
patched to Lea Castle, asking that a few of the band 
might be allowed to take refuge in the castle for a 

On receiving the message, the knight arrayed him- 
self as one of the king's soldiers, and hastened into 
the forest to escort Robin and his friends to the castle. 

Robin, however, refused to take shelter in the 
castle himself, on account of the risk to Sir Richard, 
but declared he should retire into some of the 
northern forests, where he would remain until all was 
quiet in Sherwood again. It was arranged that 
Marian, Ellen, Alan, and Friar Tuck should return 
with the knight, and Robin accompanied them to the 
border of the forest, where he took a hurried leave of 
Marian and the others. 

Little John and Will were of the party, but they 
returned with Robin. While engaged in leave- 
taking, Little John declared he caught a glimpse of a 
soldier, hid near the knight's castle, and this hastened 
the trio on their return. 

The soldier that Little John had seen was a spy, 
who had been sent from Nottingham to watch the 
castle ; and this man, taking Alan for Robin Hood, 
returned to Sir Thomas Bullhead, and acquainted 
him with the supposed hiding-place of the noted 


To the surprise of those in the castle, two days 
after the arrival of the fugitives a large force came 
marching up to the castle, under the command of Sir 
Thomas Bullhead. He demanded the instant sur- 
render of the castle, in the name of the king. 

Sir Richard asked upon what grounds the surren- 
der of the castle was required, to which Sir Thomas 
replied, that he had certain information that Robin 
Hood and a number of his followers were there, 
under his protection. Sir Richard denied that such 
was the case, and asserted that beyond his own 
family he only had some poor women, who had asked 
for shelter from him for a short time, which he had 
not refused. But Sir Thomas persisted in his de- 
mand, threatening, if the refusal was still perse- 
vered in, to invest the place, and take it by storm. 

Sir Richard indignantly refused to give up pos* 
session of his castle, and warned Sir Thomas, that 
whatever befell his men the responsibility would rest 
upon his shoulders. 

When Robin and Little John were on their way to 
the Greenwood Glade they very narrowly escaped 
capture. A number of soldiers came suddenly upon 
them, and it was only by the superior fleetness of the 
rovers that they escaped. 

They afterwards agreed to part company. 

That night they spent in the glade together, and 
the next morning took leave of each other for a 

After parting from Little John, Robin took a path 
through the forest intending to get into Cumberland, 


but was turned out of his way, by finding that a party 
of the military were before him. He changed his 
route, determining to escape south ; but, after 
travelling several miles, he discovered another party 
of soldiers. This time he was not so fortunate as 
before, for some of the soldiers caught sight of him. 
There was nothing left now but to run for his life. 
He was within three miles of the abbey of Kirklees, 
where at that time Marian Pinkerly was abbess, and 
she fortunately was a relative of Robin's. Thither 
he suddenly made up his mind to escape. He had 
not run many yards before he heard an arrow 
whistling in the trees behind him, and knew by that 
he was pursued. Robin was a fleet runner, and had 
little doubt but that he could distance his enemies. 
He kept steadily on at a rattling pace, until he saw 
before him on the top of a hill a huge white cross, 
which he knew marked the boundary of the abbey 
lands, and once within that line he was safe. 

His pursuers seemed conscious also of the purpose 
he had in view, and Robin, as he neared the cross, 
saw that the soldiers had divided into two bands, and 
one had taken a circuitous route, so as to cut off his 
gaining the abbey. 

On discovering this, Robin put on extra speed. It 
was a race for life, and the odds were greatly against 
him. He reached the top of the hill, nearly a quar- 
ter of a mile ahead of his pursuers. The abbey was 
then in sight, although distant a full mile. Had he 
paused then, although he might have claimed 
sanctuary, it would scarcely have been heeded, and 


in the anger of the moment he might have been slain 
on the spot. He rapidly approached the abbey. 
The door of the church was open. Almost spent, he 
ran into the sacred edifice, and sank down exhausted 
at the altar. 

Several nuns were in church at the time. One 
immediately ran to acquaint the abbess, and a second 
offered Robin water to drink. In a few minutes the 
abbess entered, accompanied by several nuns. Robin 
was lying full length upon the ground. 

" Unhappy man," said the abbess, " what crime 
hast thou committed that thou shouldst need 

* I am Robin Hood, thy kinsman," was the reply. 


Robin in Sanctuary at Kirklees He takes the Vows of a Penitent 
His Journey and Adventures at Scarborough Little Robby Reft 
Robin captures a French Vessel of "War. 

HE good abbess was bending over Robin as 
she spoke, but, on hearing his name, she 
uttered an exclamation of surprise. Th? 
nuns repeated his name, as though in* 
credulous that the man before them was the noted 
outlaw. They had not recovered from their surprise, 
when a number of the soldiers who had been pur- 
suing him entered the church, and, going up to the 
altar, attempted to drag Robin away. But the 
abbess interposed, and declared that no man should 
lay a finger upon Robin. 

In the course of twenty minutes about thirty sol- 
diers strode into the church, and thronged around the 
altar. Last in the race arrived Sir Thomas Bull- 

He was immensely pleased at finding Robin in his 
power, as he thought, but was prevented from 
dragging him off, as he desired, by the decided 


manner of the abbess, who stood by Robin's side, 
and authoritatively told them that the laws of the 
church and of the land would not permit of such an 
outrage being committed as that of removing a man 
away from sanctuary. 

Sir Thomas fumed and stormed, but it was all to 
no purpose. 

There stood Robin, with folded arms, leaning 
against the crucifix, by his side Marian Pinkerly, the 
good abbess, with pale face and thin compressed lips. 
Round about her, and within the altar rails, stood 
several of the nuns, with hands clasped, and engaged 
in earnest prayer. In front of these were the armed 
soldiers, whose movements and voices filled the 
church with strange sounds. The sun was shining 
through the painted windows, and cast rainbow hues 
upon the gravestones of pious women or noted 

Though very much disappointed at Robin's escape 
from their clutches, yet, nevertheless, the men shewed 
a certain amount of reverence for the place, and for 
the holy women who were protecting him. With 
their caps in their hands, they hung about the altar, 
waiting for the instructions of their leader. 

Robin took no part in the discussion of his fate, but 
stood silent the while. 

The abbess ordered Sir Thomas to remove his 
men from the church, and he at length, very reluc- 
tantly, gave them orders to retire, and surround the 
church so as to prevent his escape. They were 
posted about the building in such a way that, had 


Robin attempted to leave it, he must have fallen into 
the hands of some of them. 

After the men had retired, the doors were closed, 
and no one was allowed to enter without the express 
permission of the abbess. 

Over the altar there burned a little lamp, and when 
night set in this was the only light within the sacred 
edifice. Before she left, the abbess placed a quantity 
of stuff used for covering the altar on special occa- 
sions on the ground for Robin to lie on, and then he 
was left for the night to sleep, perchance to dream, 
to dream of freedom, of bright forest scenes, of 
Marian, to wake, and watch the dim light trembling 
as it swung to and fro above the altar. 

With the early grey of dawn, before the first bright 
rays of sunlight penetrated the building, the nuns 
came to the church with the good abbess, to chant 
the early morning hymns. Robin knelt throughout 
the service, with head bared, and arms crossed like a 
penitent. He remained in the church for several 
days, and was supplied with refreshments by the 
abbess, and the soldiers without were also supplied 
with food. 

At length Robin, tired out with his inactivity, con- 
sented to confess his crimes, and leave the country, 
but stipulated that he should not be branded. 

Sir Thomas Bullhead was sent for, and he agreed 
to the terms proposed ; and then Bully, the coroner 
from Nottingham, was summoned. He came, and 
brought with him several monks. 

Robin was led by the abbess to the church door, 


and, standing with his hand upon a crucifix, he re- 
peated these words : 

" This hear thou, Sir Coroner, that I, Robin Hood, 
am an outlaw, and because I have done evil in this 
land, I do abjure the land of our Lord John, King of 
England ; and I will haste me to the port which thou 
shalt give me ; and I will not go out of the highway, 
nor turn to the right hand, nor to the left ; and if I 
do, I do, and will consent that I be taken as a rebel 
and outlaw of our lord the king ; and at that port I 
will diligently seek for passage ; nor will I tarry 
there more than one flood and ebb, if I can have 
passage; and unless I can have passage, I will go 
every day into the sea up to my knees assaying to 
pass over ; and unless I can do this within forty days, 
I will again put myself into the church as an outlaw 
of my lord the king; so God me help by his holy 
judgment, and all saints and angels, and by this 
blessed cross." 

After taking this oath, the coroner assigned him 
the port of Scarborough ; and the abbess gave him a 
palmer's dress, and a cross which he was to carry in 
his hand the whole way. 

He then bade the abbess adieu, thanking her 
heartily for her goodness, and started forth for the 
forest once again, on his way to the port that had 
been assigned to him. 

He passed through several villages where some of 
his men were located. These invariably accompanied 
him a short distance on his journey, Robin assuring 
them all that he would soon be back in their midst 


again. He said his capture would result in the 
withdrawal of the soldiers from Sherwood, and after 
he had fulfilled all the requirements of the law he 
should return once more. 

After many days' journeying he reached Scar- 
borough. He found the inhabitants very much ex- 
cited, in consequence of an anticipated descent upon 
their shores by the French. There were many ships 
in the harbour, yet none of them would venture out 
to sea, and some of these vessels had been lying in 
harbour for several weeks. Failing to obtain a ship 
Robin, in accordance with the terms of his obligation, 
went each day into the sea up to his knees, assaying 
to pass over to some other land. One day, as he 
was returning from the fulfilment of his obligation, 
his attention was attracted by loud cries. He saw an 
old man being dragged roughly by a soldier, who 
bore a cross upon his breast, signifying that he had 
served in the Crusades. The old man's son was 
pleading with the inhuman soldier on his father's 
behalf. The man's crime consisted in his being a 
Saxon, and having a store of money, which he had 
refused to disclose. Another soldier had dismounted 
from his horse, and was watching the affray from 
some rocks above. Robin would have interposed, 
but at the moment he saw a company of soldiers 
approaching, and knew that his interference would 
only result in a worse disaster to the old man, and 
probably death to himself. Every day stories of 
similar outrages were being told amongst the people, 
and Robin declared he would rather that the French 


should come, to give the soldiers some work, than 
that they should be left alone, to despoil the inhabi- 
tants of the place. 

Amongst the fishermen he heard strange stories of 
the attacks made by the French upon their boats, 
when they would carry off all the fish, and sometimes 
the men, whom they cast into French jails. 

One who had been carried off in this way had been 
master of several fishing-boats, and he had died in 
captivity. His widow Robin became acquainted with 
through mixing with the fishermen, and he was in- 
duced to take up his abode at her house. The poor 
woman's name was Reft, and Robin found that she 
had a large family. He soon became a great favour- 
ite in the house. One of her fishing-vessels only had 
been left her, all the rest having been captured dur- 
ing her husband's lifetime. This one was manned by 
a number of men, who shared with the widow the 
results of their enterprise. The fishermen, however, 
were so much afraid of capture, that for nearly a month 
no vessel had been out to sea. Robin determined to 
try his luck ; and, by dint of considerable persuasion, 
succeeded in inducing a number of men to accompany 

The fishing-boat was called " The Lion." 

One calm bright evening they started from Scar- 
borough for a night's fishing. The sun was shining on 
the sea as they sailed out. There was scarce a ripple 
upon the water ; a gentle wind breathing upon the 
sails shot the boat dancing through the water. The 
master, Robin, and the other men sat in the stern of 


the boat. When they had got clear of the bay, the 
beauty of the scene was very striking. The boat 
seemed to skim over the face of the water like a bird, 
and it left a streak of white foam behind to mark its 
path through the water. 

" It is just a twelve-month and a day," said the 
master, " since little Robby Reft died on board this 

"Poor little fellow!" ejaculated the men, shaking 
their heads. 

" How did it happen ?" asked Robin. 

" Why," said the master, " Robby was the youngest 
son of the governor, and he used to come out with us 
fishing. He had never a lad but this one, the others 
were girls. He was a pretty little chubby-faced rogue, 
with hair as black as night, and as curly as a wave. 
He was only three years old, but a forwarder one I 
never set eyes upon. He would cast his line into the 
water and fish like a man, and once he caught a fish 
he couldn't pull up, and his father laughed till he almost 
tumbled overboard. Robby had been ailing a little, 
and he cried a bit before he came, because his mother 
wanted him to stop at home. It was a grand evening, 
and we were to be back next morning. I carried him 
down to the boat, and he threw over his line as soon 
as he got in, and watched for a bite. His father had 
the tiller. The wind came, filled the sails, and we 
were quickly skimming over the water like we are 
now. On we kept until we came to the right spot, 
and then over went our lines. Well, that time Robby 
caught three little fish, and he laughed like the water 


does sometimes as it runs past the rudder, it was a 
hearty laugh that puckered his face like the water 
itself. The sun set that night blood-red ; there was 
not a cloud in the sky, and there was a blood-red trail 
upon the water which reached to the stern of the boat. 
Little Robby clapped his hands, and said the sun was 
bleeding ; and he would dip his little hands in the sea, 
and cried out that he had caught the sun's blood. 
Then he was sorely puzzled how to make out that the 
water was red in the sea but white in his hands. His 
father laughed ; we all laughed, and were as merry as 
men who had no trouble in their heads. 

" When the sun had fairly set, all of a sudden Robby 
began to cry, and put his little hand up to his head. 
He said he had a pain, and went very red in the face, 
and his father couldn't make out what was up. So he 
carried him into the cabin, and we made a bed of our 
coats and laid him down, and he went very quiet. Thus 
the night passed. His father would keep stepping to 
the cabin to peep at him, and each time he would 
raise his little head and say, ' Father, do you love 

" His father would say, ' Ay, ay lad, very much ;' 
then his little head would drop upon his pillow, and 
his father would give him a kiss before stepping back 
to his line. . 

"In the early morning, just before dawn, little 
Robby cries out, ' Father ! father ! I want to see the 
stars, take me up.' 

" So his father brought him up, and he lay on his 
father's lap, in the stern, 


" He looked up and said, ' Father, where are all the 
stars gone, I thought there were more ? ' 

" The light was just about to break, and scarce a 
star could be seen. 

" 'Where are they gone, Robby? ' repeated his father. 
* Why, they 're gone behind the clouds.' 

" ' Who put them behind the clouds ?' asked Robby. 

" ' Gentle Jesus,' replied his father. 

" ' Have the stars got hands ?' said Robby. 

" ' No, my child ! ' 

" ' Can they sing ?' 

" ' Ay, a heavenly song.' 

" ' What do they sing ?' 

" ' Glory, hallelujah !' answered his father. That was 
what he'd heard the priest say. 

" ' Shall we go and see the stars ? ' said Robby. 

" 'Ay,' was the father's response, 'when gentle Jesus 
calls us.' 

"'What will gentle Jesus say?' 

" ' Little Robby, come up here and see the pretty 
blue sky, and the bright stars, and the beautiful angels.' 

" ' But I won't go without father.' Little Robby 
says, 'Won't gentle Jesus call thee too?' 

" ' Ay, some day,' his father said ; but all the while 
he cried, for nobody ever heard such questions from a 
child before ; but he repeated, ' Ay, some day, Robby.' 

" ' Shall we go to-morrow ? ' 

" ' No, no, Robby darling ; but some day we will* 

" 'Well, which is the way ?' quoth the child. 

" ' Straight up,' said his father. 

* ' In the boat ?' asked Robby. 


" ' No, no ; we shall go up in the air like a gull.' 

" After that Robby was a bit still, and we thought 
he was going to sleep ; but all of a sudden he opened 
his eyes again, and whispered, * Father, father ! gentle 
Jesus is calling us now!' and with that his little head 
fell on his father's arm. 

" We were very still then, because we were sure he 
was sleeping, and he was indeed asleep, for he never 
woke again. 

" When we found that he was really dead, we could 
not believe our senses ; we said, * Master, he's dead ;' 
but his father said, ' No, he isn't/ and he was angry 
because we spoke. His father held him in his arms 
for hours, while the boat lay still upon the water. He 
didn't seem to mind what we did ; and we set the sail, 
turning the boat for home, and still he sat in the stern 
silent and sad, with little Robby on his lap. When 
we ran the boat ashore, he got up, carried the child to 
the house, laid him down, and said, ' He's dead,' and 
nothing more. 

" His wife burst out crying, and the children cried, 
but he never said a word, and didn't seem to know 
what he was doing. That same night he came down 
to the shore, and without any one knowing what he 
was about, he takes the best of his boats and sails 
away out to sea. The next morning he was seen by 
a Scarborough boat, and they asked him what luck ; 
and he said, ' I haven't caught the lad yet, but I soon 
shall.' They couldn't make out what he meant ; but 
as they sailed away they saw a French vessel come 
up, and Reft was seen no more." 


"Was nothing ever heard of him again?" Robin 
Hood inquired. 

" Months afterwards," said the master, " a sailor 
escaped here from a French jail, and when they spoke 
to him, he remembered a man being brought in who 
had nothing else to say but ' Where's Robby ? Have 
any of you seen Robby?' and two days afterwards 
he died raging mad." 

" Look at the sun now," exclaimed Robin, " it's 

"That's just as it looked the day before little 
Robby died," said the master ; " and I say, before we 
get back there'll be blood shed somewhere upon the 
water, and some of us, if we get back, will have a 
strange tale to tell." 

Presently the wind freshened, and Robin began to 
experience some of those unpleasant consequences 
which follow upon a first trip to sea. In a few 
minutes he was lying prostrate with sea-sickness, to 
the amazement of his fellows, who thought he had 
been an old hand. 

He rose, staggered to his feet, but a sudden lurch 
of the boat sent him rolling up against the mast. 
Catching hold of this to steady himself, he tried to 
gain the side of the boat, but another lurch took him, 
and sent him head first on to the deck again. 

His comrades began to laugh at him, called him a 
land-lubber, and bade him fish for his sea legs. 
Then they mocked him, and offered him loose ropes 
wherewith to steady himself. 

The men cast their lines overboard, and the master 


vowed that if Robin would not fish, no share of what 
the others caught should fall to him. A line was 
given him, and he immediately cast it into the sea, 
without a bait upon his hook, and when the others 
pulled up their lines with big fish at the end, they 
laughed at Robin, and told him he would have to 
hook his fish on or he would catch none. 

At length one of them pulled up Robin's line, and 
found he had no bait upon the end, then they all 
roared with laughter. 

As the night wore on the wind freshened, and the 
waves rolled high. So they had to give up fishing, 
and it took all their skill to keep the head of the 
boat before the wind. All night they toiled on the 
sea, but Robin was unable to render the slightest 
assistance, and the merriment of the men changed to 
vexation ; and Robin made a secret vow that he 
would never venture out to sea again, but would 
return to Sherwood or some other forest, or else he 
would offer the services of himself and his men to the 
king, to fight the French on land. 

When morning dawned the wind went down, and 
the sea became calm again, so they resumed their 
fishing, and were very successful. 

At length a sail was discovered on the horizon, 
and the master cried out that it was a French 
vessel of war, and they made sail with what haste 
they could to escape. The wind, however, baffled 
them, and the French ship came upon them very 

Robin, who was recovering from his sickness, bade 


them not to be afraid, for he would shoot every man 
on board. 

But the master declared that Robin was nothing 
but a braggart and a boaster, and threatened to 
throw him overboard. 

Robin secretly fetched his bow and arrows from 
the cabin, and called upon the master to fasten him 
to the mast, and leave him there. 

A rope was brought, and Robin was accordingly 
fastened to the mast, in such a position that, however 
much the vessel lurched, he would still be upon his 
legs. As the French vessel came within bow-shot, 
Robin fitted an arrow to his bow, and took aim at a 
man whom he saw on the bow of the vessel. The 
arrow pierced the man's heart, and he fell dead into 
the sea. When the master and the men saw the 
Frenchman fall, they cried out that they were indeed 
all dead men. But before they could do anything to 
prevent him, Robin had loosed another shaft, and a 
second Frenchman fell. When Robin's friends saw 
this, their fears were changed to hopes, and they cried 
out, " Well done ; shoot again !" 

In an instant another shot brought a third French- 
man plump into the sea. The two vessels were so 
close now, that Robin and the others could hear a 
great hubbub on board their adversary. He con- 
tinued shooting arrow after arrow, and every shaft 
brought a Frenchman down, either on to the deck or 
into the sea. 

Robin's stock of arrows were nearly exhausted, 


when, to his great joy, a white flag was hoisted on 
the French vessel. 

Then the master's skill was called into requisition 
again, and, at Robin's request, the fishing-boat was 
laid alongside the French vessel. 

Robin cast off the rope with which he was fastened, 
and was the first man to board their prize. On 
reaching the deck, he found the dead lying in every 
direction, and wounded soldiers and sailors crawling 
about. The very first shaft that Robin fired had 
killed the commander, and caused considerable con- 
fusion on board. During the storms of the two pre- 
vious nights they had been obliged to throw over- 
board every weapon with which the vessel had been 
supplied, and the crossbows belonging to the soldiers 
had been rendered unfit for service by the salt water 
They had no arms left but their swords, and they 
were useless against Robin's bow and arrows. 

His shafts had flown so quickly, and with such deadly 
results, that the Frenchmen were panic-stricken, and 
those who were unwounded surrendered the vessel. 

On getting on board, the survivors laid their 
swords at Robin's feet, and submitted to be bound. 

When they searched the ship, they found, to their 
amazement, an immense quantity of money, to the 
value of several thousand pounds. 

Robin declared that one half of what had been 
taken should go to the widow Reft, and the other 
half should be divided equally amongst the master 
and the men, his companions. 


The master objected, because, he said, if it had not 
been for Robin they would all have been carried pri- 
soners to France ; and the remainder of the men 
joined with the master in declaring that the whole of 
the prize by right belonged to Robin. 

The master begged pardon for the way in which 
they had treated Robin, and the other men likewise 
begged Robin's forgiveness. He bade them not to 
think any more of what had passed, but immediately 
prepare to return home. 

They cast overboard all the dead bodies that lay 
about the deck, and hoisted the sails to make all the 
haste they could to reach Scarborough. Fortunately 
for them they had a fair wind, and came within sight 
of land without meeting with another French vessel. 

The appearance of the foreign ship created an 
intense alarm in the town. Far out at sea the outline 
had been recognised, and the worst fears of the 
people were, apparently, about to be realised. All 
were puzzled at seeing the little fishing vessel keep- 
ing her company, though people were not long in 
suggesting that the little fishing craft had been cap- 
tured, and that the fishermen had been compelled to 
pilot the war vessel into port. 

The men of the braver sort armed themselves as 
quickly as possible, and placed themselves under the 
direction of the commander of the king's soldiers. 
There were no valuables on board the ships in the 
harbour, and the men belonging to them cared but 
little-about their seizure. 

Many were puzzled to account for the fact that 


only one vessel thus approached the shore; but 
others insisted that many more before nightfall would 

On board the vessel, eyes were strained to catch a 
glimpse of the usual groups of men hanging about 
the sands, and the fishermen were much perplexed at 
the appearance of the deserted town. When they 
had come fairly within hail, the master hoisted the 
only flag he had on the mast of the French ship, and 
over the French colours. 

Some faint cheers were heard on shore to proceed 
from those on the ship, and this brought some of the 
people on land into sight. 

Robin and the master ascended the masts, and 
waved their caps, shouting; and at length the people 
and the soldiers guessed what had happened, and 
came in crowds down to the shore to look at the 
ship and the men. 

Anchor was at length cast. Robin landed, while 
the master remained in possession of the ship. 

The widow Reft was on the sands. Some sharp 
eyes had discovered the shape of her fishing-boat, 
and carried her the intelligence of the supposed cap- 

On landing, Robin quickly told his tale to the 
people and the soldiers, and the greatest enthusiasm 
prevailed. The French prisoners were landed, and at' 
night there were bonfires kindled in every direction 
in honour of the event. The poor woman Reft could 
hardly belie ve %*g senses as bag after bag of gold 
was brought outbid carried into her house. Each of 


the men had a greater store of gold to carry away as 
his share than he had ever borne away in weight of 
fish, and was received by more friends on shore than 
he had ever known before. 

The master and the men seemed never tired of 
repeating the story of Robin's skill and bravery, and 
the pitch of excitement grew to such an intensity that 
the people forcibly laid hold of Robin, mounted him 
on the shoulders of some strong men, and carried 
him up and down the place. 

The commander of the king's soldiers sent for 
the nearest coroner, and ordered that Robin should 
be formally released from his oath ; and in place of 
his palmer's dress the garb of a king's soldier was put- 
upon him. 

The vessel was bought for the use of the king, anc 
the division of the money between the widow and the 
crew of the fishing-vessel confirmed. 

Robin declared he would not take away with him 
more money than would suffice for his spending until 
he reached Nottingham. But the widow and the 
commander insisted upon his having a large share of 
the booty; and with this Robin ordered that a 
number of houses should be built and endowed, for 
the use of poor widows. The most tempting offers 
were made to Robin to induce him to remain. He 
refused all; and when the day of parting at last 
came, the people escorted him a long distance on his 


Little John and Will take part in a Shooting Match, and go into ths 
Forest Robin meets with his Band again Little John is Cap- 
tured by the Sheriff Robin slays Sir Guy of Gisborne Release 
of Little John Inluck creates a Panic at midnight amongst the 

jjURING Robin's absence, Marian and the 
others had spent the whole of their time 
in the hospitable castle of Sir Richard of 
the Lea. 

The story of Robin's capture at the Abbey of Kirk- 
lees had been reported to Sir Richard, and he had 
communicated it to Alan and the friar; but it had 
been kept from the knowledge of the others. They 
also heard of Robin's escape, and believed firmly that 
he would return as he had promised at no very dis- 
tant date. 

The Sheriff of Nottingham was overjoyed at the 
news of Robin's capture, and chuckled over it with 
almost as much pleasure as if he had accomplished it 
himself. Of the members of Robin's band, some had 
settled in the villages to which they belonged, while 


others had obtained a precarious livelihood by poach- 
ing in the forest. Little John and Will had occasional 
meetings in Nottingham, but never made their appear- 
ance there without having a row with the sheriff's men. 
These disturbances waxed so fierce, that both Little 
John and Will entertained seriously the advisability 
of betaking themselves to the forest again, and sum- 
moning the remaining members of the band around 
them. Their proposition was precipitated into action 
by an event which took place in the May of 1214. 

The sheriff had announced a grand shooting match, 
as was usual, to celebrate the return of May. The 
prizes were a bow with silver ends, and an arrow 
pointed with silver in like manner. 

Little John determined that he would be present 
at the match, and Will was dispatched to several of 
the neighbouring hamlets to acquaint the members 
of Robin's old band. 

In consequence of this, there met together a very 
large number of Robin's men, who found themselves 
once more pitted against the foresters, and a number 
of the sheriff's men. 

The sheriff walked up and down the square where 
the match was fixed to take place, to gratify his 
vanity by displaying himself in the presence of, as he 
trusted, an admiring assemblage. 

The result of the shooting match was, that Little 
John was declared the winner of the prize, which 
occasioned considerable dissatisfaction amongst the 
sheriff's men. 

The foresters took part with the sheriff's men, and 


declared that Little John was none other than an out- 
law, and that he should never carry away the prize. 
It had already been presented to him, and he held it 
in his hand. On hearing the grumblings amongst the 
men, he bade the best amongst them take the bow 
from him. A mele ensued, in which many of the 
sheriff's men were seriously injured, and Little John 
arid his party were obliged to escape to the woods. 

The sheriff was very much enraged at what had 
occurred, and offered a large reward for the capture 
of the men who had created the disturbance. 

The very day when the forest rovers escaped from 
Nottingham and entered the forest, Robin, by one of 
those singular chances which are sometimes heard of, 
entered the forest on his way from Scarborough, and 
was slowly sauntering along, his mind filled with plea- 
sant recollections of the many happy days he had 
spent there. Though his absence had been but short, 
it seemed to him an age. He carried in his hand his 
bow, and a well-filled quiver hung at his back. From 
his waist hung his old horn, and remembering that it 
was the merry month of May, a strong fancy seized 
him once more to wake the echoes in the forest. So, 
placing the horn to his lips, he blew three loud and 
shrill blasts. He stood still while the echoes lingered 
in the air, and then, to his astonishment, he heard the 
sound of men's voices in the forest Before he had 
time to recover from his surprise, he found himself 
surrounded by a number of his old and faithful men. 
The meeting was so unexpected, and the joy so heart- 
felt, that Robin had some difficulty in restraining the 


men. They shook him by the hand, and clasped him 
round the legs. Some cried, others laughed, and then 
all shouted, "Hurrah!" Robin was just as pleased 
himself, though not so demonstrative in his manner. 

They all repaired to the old places of meeting, the 
two glades where the houses were erected, and to 
Robin's surprise he found that preparations for a feast 
were going fonvard, and that night, as in former times, 
they celebrated the return of summer to the grand old 
forest of Sherwood. 

The following morning Robin repaired to the castle 
of Sir Richard, where he was welcomed very heartily 
by his friends. Marian's joy knew no bounds, and 
they vowed they would never again be parted in life. 
After remaining a day at the castle, Sir Richard 
parted with his guests, but not without many regrets ; 
and they were told by his kind lady always to regard 
the castle as their safest retreat. Robin's circle being 
once more complete, he started for his Greenwood 

As they returned through the forest, they came 
upon one of the sheriffs men, who had ventured all 
alone into the forest in search of Little John. Robin 
took from him the weapons he wore, and sent him 
back to the sheriff with a message, that Robin Hood 
was once more to be found in the wood, and would be 
very glad to meet with the sheriff at any time. 

The sheriff was not a little disconcerted at the news 
which his man brought, and immediately made pro- 
clamation in the market-place that a large reward 
would be given for the capture of Robin. 


Many expeditions were set on foot for this purpose, 
but all without avail. Those sent returned to Not- 
tingham, either wearied out with wandering through 
the forest, or with bruised heads and sides, and with- 
out weapons, having met with some of Robin's men. 

Several months passed, and winter came. Robin 
and his band were locked up in their houses by the 
winter snows. Merry days and nights were those 
spent that winter in the forest ; at length spring came 
again. The warm sun breathed upon the forest, and 
the snows disappeared. Spring flowers peeped out, 
and the birds began to sing their summer songs. 
Robin's men went out to pick up what information 
they could of the intentions of the sheriff Inluck. 
Upon one of these excursions Little John met with a 
sad adventure. He had gone in the direction of Not- 
tingham, and meeting with no one, entered the town. 
He was recognised by some of the sheriff's men, who 
immediately determined to capture him. Hearing a 
noise behind him, he turned and saw a crowd collecti ng 
Remembering what had happened on former occa- 
sions he took to his heels and ran to the nearest gate. 
Having the start of them, he succeeded in passing the 
gate before they could stop him. He was not, however, 
free from all danger, for he had not got many hundred 
yards from the walls, when, hearing a great cry behind 
him, he turned and saw about sixty men armed with 
bows and arrows in hot pursuit after him, and the 
sheriff at their head mounted on a horse. First of all, 
Little John determined to draw them as far into the 
forest as he could, then make a stand and do what 


mischief he could with his arrows, believing that 
afterwards he would have no difficulty in making his 
escape. Once or twice, when he turned his head, he 
noticed that the sheriff kept with his men, instead of 
riding in advance of them. When they had got a 
considerable distance from the town, Little John fitted 
an arrow to his bow, turned and discharged it amongst 
the sheriff's men, knocking over the man nearest the 
sheriff. Unfortunately, the string of his bow broke 
with the effort, and he was pretty much at the mercy 
of his enemies. 

Meanwhile the men came on, urged by the sheriff's 
voice, and the promise of a large reward. Little John's 
temporary stoppage enabled them to gain so much 
upon him that they quickly ran him down and cap- 
tured him. 

The same day Robin, straying through the forest, 
bent upon a little pleasant excursion and nothing 
more, came upon a knight fully armed. 

" Good morning," quoth Robin. 

" Good morning," replied the stranger. " Methinks 
by the bow thou bearest in thy hand, thou should'st 
be a good archer." 

Said Robin, " I never boast." 

Quoth the stranger, " I wish I could meet with Robin 
Hood, and then I would try my skill against his." 

" If thou wilt come with me," said Robin, " we may 
chance to meet with him in the forest ; and I should 
like nothing better than to see you together." 

" If thou wilt lead me to him," the knight replied, 
41 1 will give thee 10 for thy pains." 


" Agreed," said Robin ; " but first let us have some 
pastime under the trees, for I flatter myself I am not 
a bad shot." 

The stranger agreed to the proposal, and Robin cut 
a thin wand which he set up. At the first shot Robin's 
arrow passed within an inch of the mark. The stranger 
shot, but did not get within a foot of it. 

The second time they fired Robin cleft the wand ; 
but the stranger again missed, his arrow flying wide 
of the mark. 

" Thou art a good shot," said the stranger ; " if 
Robin Hood can beat thee, he must be a good shot 
indeed. But tell me, where dost thou come from ?" 

" Do thou tell me first what is thy name ! " said 

" I am Sir Guy of Gisborne," said the stranger ; 
(< and I have sworn to the sheriff of Nottingham that 
I will find Robin Hood, and fight him until one of us 
is slain." 

" And I am willing," was Robin's reply ; " thou wilt 
not have to search long, for I am Robin Hood." 

Sir Guy started on finding that he had been in 
such close proximity to the noted outlaw, and clapped 
his hand upon his sword. 

Both drew their swords, and immediately fell to. 
Robin found that he had an awkward opponent to 
deal with, for Sir Guy was a celebrated swordsman, 
and dealt such strokes as Robin had not been accus- 
tomed to. After they had been fighting for some 
time Robin stumbled over the root of a tree. Sir 
Guy being remarkably nimble, hit him a heavy blow 


on his left side, and knocked Robin half senseless to 
the ground. Sir Guy stepped backward for one mo- 
ment, then raising his sword he advanced for the pur- 
pose of giving his foe the finishing stroke ; but Robin 
was aware of the knight's purpose, and breathing a 
word or two in prayer, sudden strength returned to 
him, he sprang up quickly, and with one blow from 
his sword, he struck the knight lifeless to the ground. 

After satisfying himself that the knight was really 
dead, Robin rested a while, and then a thought came 
into his head. He hacked the knight's face in such a 
way that not even his most intimate friend could have 
recognised him. After that, he exchanged clothes 
and weapons with him, and marched through the 
forest with the determination of going to Nottingham. 
. It was at this time that Little John, having been 
captured by the sheriff, was in the course of being 
bound to a tree, preparatory to their return to Not- 

On completing his capture the sheriff, considerably 
elated, praised the valour of his men, and they almost 
imagined that they had received the reward which 
had been promised them. 

Going up to Little John, he taunted him with his 
celerity in running, and vowed that he would drag 
him at the heels of his horse back to Nottingham ; 
and that, on the following day, he should be hung 
early in the morning. 

Little John, though bound, was plucky enough to 
reply to the sheriff, and reminded him of the many 
narrow escapes he had had from the hands of Robin. 


He moreover declared, that if the sheriff dared hang 
him, Robin would lose no time in revenging his 

While this pleasant little conversation was going 
on, they were rather startled by hearing the sound of 
a horn. After listening, however, the sheriff declared 
that it was the horn of Sir Guy of Gisborne, and that 
he must have had a meeting with Robin Hood. 

The sheriff ordered one of his men to sound a 
reply, which he did. 

Robin, trusting to the disguise which he wore, 
pushed forward in the direction from whence the 
sound proceeded, and, to his surprise, found himself 
in the presence of a numerous company of his enemies, 
and Little John bound to a tree. In an instant he 
divined the state of affairs. 

The sheriff welcomed Sir Guy (as he imagined) 
right heartily, and his men set up a loud shout. 
John, too, would have cheered, for he recognised his 
master as soon as he saw him enter the place, and 
his heart beat high with hope, for he knew that his 
escape was certain. 

" Ask what you will," said the sheriff, " good Sir 
Guy, and it shall be thine, for by thy blood-stained 
coat I know thou hast slain the traitor Robin 
Hood." * 

" I have slain a man in the forest who wears the 
garb of Robin Hood," was the bold reply, " and all I 
ask as a favour is, that having slain the master, I may 
now slay the man." 

" Thou art a madman!" the sheriff replied, "for 

2 H 


thou mightest have had a fee as well ; but since thou 
hast only asked so slight a boon, 'tis granted." 

Quoth Little John, to keep up appearances, " I 
protest thou shalt not slay me in cold blood ; give 
me but fair play, and I care not how many thou 
sendest against me to fight." 

The sheriff's only reply was a taunting laugh. 

Robin drew his sword, and advanced towards Little 

The sheriff and all his men moved up after him, as 
though to see the manner of his death ; but Robin 
drove them back, telling them it was unmannerly for 
so many to hear the shrift of the dying man. 

Robin then called out to Little John at the top of 
his voice, 

" Thou knave, prepare to have a short shrift and a 
long journey." 

Bending his head, he pretended as if he was listen- 
ing to what Little John was saying, but all the while 
he was quietly cutting his bonds, and ere he raised 
his head again Little John was free, and had Sir 
Guy's bow and quiver of arrows in his hands. Then 
Robin put his horn to his mouth and blew three shrill 

The sheriff and his men looked on amazed, and 
did not seem able to $omprehend what was passing. 

Robin called out to him to come quickly and 
shrive them both, or he was afraid he would lose his 

Then the sheriff saw, with horror, that Little John 
was free again, and armed. 


The men were no less startled ; but before they 
could attempt an assault or make off, Robin's men 
arrived, and surrounded them. Robin ordered the 
sheriff and his party to lay down their arms ; and, 
seeing the forest rovers all around them, they sub- 
mitted with the worst grace imaginable, threw down 
their arms, and begged for mercy, 

The sheriff himself was very much dismayed at the 
sudden appearance of the host, and could not refrain " 
from giving expression to his disappointment by 
declaring that Robin must be in league with the Evil 
One, or he would never have succeeded in accom- 
plishing what he had that day. 

Robin warned the sheriff, that if he persisted in 
following him as he had done, he would, the next 
time he caught him, hang him like a dog. 

The sheriff vowed, that in the future he would shew 
amendment in his treatment of Robin. But the 
latter said his promise should avail only for the 
future, and that he must not expect to go unpunished 
for what he had done that day. 

All the sheriff's men were bound to trees, while a 
council was held as to what should be done to them. 

At length the punishment was decided upon. 
Robin's men cut the jackets of their prisoners in such 
a way as to leave them only half hanging on their 
backs. This operation provoked a good deal of 
laughter. The men's beards were next cut close to 
their chins, and their hair cropped close to their 
heads. Robin declared that their wives would not 
know them again, whereat all his men laughed. 


When night set in, and Robin knew the gates of 
Nottingham would be closed, the sheriff, who had 
been cropped like his men, was bound to the back of 
his horse with strong cords. The horse was next 
led on to the high road, and well whipped, when it 
bounded off at a gallop in the direction of the town. 

Robin and his band then left the sheriff's men 
bound to the trees, and departed for their home in 
the forest. 

The horse which the sheriff rode continued his 
gallop until he reached the very gates of Notting- 
ham, by which time the unfortunate man was suffer- 
ing from aches in every bone. 

The horse quietly ran up to one of the gates, but, 
finding it shut, turned away to the border of the road, 
to crop the grass. 

The sheriff, however, was very loth to spend the 
night in the same position in which he had been fixed 
by Robin ; and when the horse was quietly cropping 
the grass, he raised his voice as loud as he could, and 
shouted, " Good people, I pray you, save me, save 
me ! " 

This cry was heard by the watchman at the gate, 
but he did not recognise the voice. It sounded so 
unearthly in the dead of a dark night, that he crossed 
himself, muttering a prayer or two, and took no fur- 
ther heed. 

The horse, not finding the grass that suited his par- 
ticular fancy, walked on, beside the walls of the town, 
and as he went, the sheriff raised his voice again and 
a^ain, shouting, " Good people, save me, save me !" 


As the horse passed by, the soldiers on the walls 
heard the cry, and trembled, as it recalled to their 
minds strange stories told by old women, of ghosts 
that haunted the night, and of spirits that the friars 
preached about, who wandered in mid air, restless on 
account of some crime that they had committed in 
the body. 

The watchmen, as they were changed, told their 
fellows what had occurred; and as each succeeding 
sentinel heard the cry, a general alarm was created. 
The officers of the guard were summoned, and they, 
too, heard the strange cry. At length it was deter- 
mined to summon the holy brethren from the nearest 
abbey, that they might lay the unhappy spirit that 
spoke in so human a voice, and so sorely troubled the 

To the nearest abbey a messenger was dispatched 
to acquaint the abbot. The abbey bell was rung, and 
all the brethren were gathered together. Then a 
long procession was formed ; sacred relics were 
carried aloft by monks ; at their head walked the 
abbot in full canonicals, preceded by a monk, carry- 
ing a huge cross. There were several torches carried 
by some of the brethren and the soldiers, and thus, in 
solemn state, they went down to the walls of the 
town. As they walked along, the abbot sprinkled 
the battlements with holy water, murmuring words of 
prayer ; but no sound was heard of an unearthly spirit. 

They had gone a considerable distance along the 
walls, and the abbot began to wish himself in his bed 
again, when all were startled by the cry that had so 


alarmed the soldiers. The abbot made the pro- 
cession halt, that they might listen ; when, with awful 
distinctness, they heard the words, " Good people, 
save me, save me !" The words were repeated a 
second time, loud and clear. 

The abbot looked at the cross-bearer, the cross- 
bearer looked at the abbot, and both drew nearer to 
each other. Those behind moved up closer to those 
in front, and those in front backed towards those who 
were behind. The soldiers trembled and crossed 

Again, there came the voice, "I beseech you, in 
the name of the holy Virgin, save me, save me !" 

" Be still, unquiet soul !" exclaimed the abbot, in a 
voice trembling with emotion. 

But the unquiet soul only called out the louder, 
" Save me, save me !" 

The abbot repeated his words several times, but 
there was no efficacy in his exhortation, the words of 
the restless sheriff were only repeated with more ear- 
nestness. Again and again came the melancholy 
voice, and the abbot, losing all self-control, suddenly 
gathered up the skirts of his robes, and, taking to his 
heels, made for the abbey as fast as he could run. 

This conduct on his part created a panic among 
his followers. The cross fell to the ground, torches 
were thrown down, the holy water was pitched away, 
and the whole party, soldiers and monks, ran as fast 
as ever they could in the wake of their leader. Nor 
did they slacken speed until they all found themselves 
within the precincts of the abbey grounds. 


The abbot declared that the spirit was one that 
bells only had power over, and accordingly the abbey 
bells were set ringing, to scare away the unholy 

The unfortunate sheriff was in the meantime 
carried round about the walls of the town. He lay 
in a very uncomfortable position on the back of the 
horse, his mind occupied with remembrances of 
sundry naughty deeds. 

When the morning dawned a soldier, bolder than 
the rest, ventured to peer over the battlements, and 
then he saw, to his astonishment, the cause of all 
their alarm. Feeling ashamed at his fright, he slipped 
out of the town very quietly, and released the sheriff 
from his uncomfortable position. 

The sheriff told a mournful tale of his sufferings 
during the night, and the man explained how they 
had thought him an evil spirit, and so had not dared 
to come out. 

The sheriff besought the soldier not to tell any one 
of the discovery he had made, lest the people should 
ridicule him. 

This the soldier readily assented to, and the sheriff 
departed to his own house. 

He afterwards sent a party of men into the forest 
to relieve those who were tied up, and then betook 
himself to bed. 

Before the messengers could be dispatched the 
men arrived from the forest, having been released by 
some beggars, who, chancing to pass at at early hour, 
found them tied up as Robin's men had left them. 


They begged hard to be released, and the poor 
beggars had severed their bonds for them. The 
beggars made no secret of what they had done, in 
hopes of getting a large reward. 

The appearance of the sheriff's men provoked much 
mirth in Nottingham. For months they were marked 
men in Nottingham, their cut beards and cropped 
hair indicating, without difficulty, the men who had 
gone out with the sheriff on his noted expedition 
after Little John. 

They became so thoroughly ashamed of them- 
selves as to vow that they would never be induced, 
by any pretence on the part of the sheriff, or the 
governor of the castle, or even the king himself, to 
take part in any expedition into Sherwood Forest 

The sheriff had had such a miserable night that he 
vowed he would never cross a horse in chase of a 
forest rover again, and he kept his word. 

The soldier and the sheriff also kept their words 
with regard to the spirit that had haunted the walls ; 
and, as it was never heard of afterwards, the abbot 
got the credit of having laid it. As the sheriff's men 
had not been witnesses of their master's treatment, 
but thought that he had been carried off by Robin 
Hood, his midnight race was kept from the ears of 
the common people. 


Robin and Will capture some Treasure belonging to the King Sir 
William Boldheart undertakes to capture Robin The Forces meet 
in the Forest A long and terrible Fight Death of some of Robin's 

OBIN'S men made fine fun out of theirexploit 
with the sheriff and his men, and waited 
with some eagerness to hear of the recep- 
tion of the men in Nottingham. 
They had a quiet time of it during the early part 
of the summer of 1216, having no meetings with per- 
sons of any consequence ; but only an occasional 
interview with a beggar, whose capture yielded them 
but small profit and a great amount of trouble. 

Towards the close of the summer, intelligence was 
received of the death of King John, which gave great 
satisfaction to all the outlaws. On the 28th of Octo- 
ber his successor, Henry III., was crowned King of 

The events which transpired in the kingdom kept 
Robin from being molested for several months. 


In the summer of 1217 Robin came in contact with 
some of the servants of the new king. 

Robin and Will were walking in the direction of 
Mansfield, when they caught sight of some men hav- 
ing six sumpter horses. They immediately hid them- 
selves behind some trees and watched for the approach 
of the train. 

It turned out to be a cavalcade of soldiers, accom- 
panying the king's collectors, who had been drawing 
money from some of the king's tenants under some 
frivolous pretence, and the sumpter horses were laden 
with the coin so collected. 

At the head of the party rode the collectors, two 
knights, who wore plumes in their hats. Behind them 
the captain of the soldiers, who numbered thirty. 
Besides these, there were six men who led the horses. 

Robin determined to attack them. Without show- 
ing themselves, both fired at the same moment, and 
one of the collectors and the captain of the soldiers 
fell from their horses seriously wounded. 

The whole of the party, on seeing two of their num- 
ber wounded, and not seeing their assailants, appeared 
to be thrown into a state of utter consternation. 

The men leading the sumpter horses sprang on the 
horses of the nearest soldiers, and so impeded the 
free action of a number of them. 

Two more arrows fired into their midst brought two 
more men to the ground. Again two more arrows 
' from the unseen foe, and two more men fell down. 

The suddenness of the attack, the mystery which 
seemed to shroud it, and the number wounded, created 


a panic amongst them. Each man fancied he might 
be the next victim, and was powerless to resist. So 
without more ado, the horsemen put spurs into their 
steeds, and gallopped off as fast as their horses could 
carry them, leaving the wounded men and the sumpter 
horses behind them. 

Robin and Will could scarce repress their mirth as 
they caught sight of the faces of the poor men who 
had taken up positions behind some of the soldiers, 
and so rode double weight. 

As they rode off at last two arrows were fired, but 
this time over the heads of the horsemen, which seemed 
to impart additional zest to their desire for escape. 

When they were fairly out of sight, Robin and Will 
stepped from their hiding. They first of all secured 
the sumpter horses, and then they proceeded to ex- 
amine those they had knocked over. These lay 
stunned and bleeding upon the ground, but not 
dangerously wounded. 

Will made bandages for their wounds, and all of 
them were assisted to their feet. The collector was 
wounded in his right arm, and the commander of 
the force in his right leg. On seeing Robin and Will 
approach them, they stared very hard, and looked all 
round as though they expected to see a large force 
behind them; but not seeing any more, they demanded 
in an imperious tone how it was that they had dared 
to attack the king's force. 

Robin bade them not talk about the king there, 
that he was Robin Hood, and King of Sherwood 
Forest, and he was only about to levy toll upon them 


as travellers through the forest, in accordance with an 
old established custom. 

Will asked the commander what had become of 
his brave soldiers, and declared that they were the 
sharpest at running away that he had ever seen. 

The wounded soldiers sat upon the ground looking 
at Robin and Will with awe, almost inclining to the 
belief that they were spirits of evil that had come out 
of the forest to torment them. 

After all their wounds had been dressed, Robin 
directed them to mount their horses and accompany 
him into the forest. 

The commander refused at first, and would have 
resisted ; but on rising to his feet, found he was not 
able to stand alone, and so was obliged to give in, and 
allowed himself to be assisted on to his horse. 

Will had taken the precaution of tying the horses' 
heads together, so that they could not run away. 

When all were mounted, the legs of each rider were 
tied under the horse's belly, and then the horses were 
tied heads to tails. Robin went first, leading the 
sumpter horses, and Will followed, holding the bridle 
of the collector's horse. 

Their arrival at the glade, where all the prisoners 
were brought, created quite a sensation, as the band 
had not had the pleasure of receiving visitors for many 
months. A grand feast was made ready, to which 
most of the wounded men did ample justice. The 
baggage of the sumpter horses was unpacked in the 
presence of all the band, and on pouring out the 
money it was found to amount to nearly 3000. The 


collector, whose name was Sir Thomas Lovelace, made 
strange grimaces as he saw the money passed into the 
hands of Robin's men, to be locked up in their strong 

Marian invited the wounded men to take up their 
abode in the forest until they were quite recovered, 
and this was gladly accepted by the leaders, who felt 
that an enforced captivity of some duration would 
lend colour to the account they should concoct of their 

The men remained in the forest several weeks. 
During this time Robin paid every attention to his 
guests, and Marian and Ellen were constant in their 
care, dressing their wounds and otherwise ministering 
to them with all the tenderness of which a woman 
alone is capable. 

When they were well enough to move about, Robin 
arranged several shooting matches, and displayed 
before the astonished eyes of his guests the wonder- 
ful skill of which he was master. He further varied 
the tedium of their confinement by having sundry 
hunts in the forest, into which the guests entered with 
as much spirit as Robin and his band. 

That portion of the escort which escaped from Robin 
arrived safely at Nottingham, where they spread a 
report of an attack having been made upon them by 
a large force. Their stories were so mysterious that 
the soldiers of Nottingham conceived the idea that 
the evil one had let loose a number of his captives 
upon the forest for the special purpose of plaguing 
men. and driving them to destruction. 


The king was very wroth when he heard of what 
had happened, and that his money had been taken 
from his men. 

Inluck declared, when he heard the story, that it 
was only one of Robin Hood's tricks ; and a strong 
representation was made to the king against Robin. 

The king accordingly sent word to the sheriff of 
Nottingham, that he should offer a large reward for 
the capture of Robin, and assist any knight who might 
choose to raise a force for the purpose of effecting his 

The terms of this proclamation were perfectly satis- 
factory to the sheriff, who had very resolutely made 
up his mind never to meddle, on his own responsi- 
bility, with Robin or his men again. 

The continued absence of those left behind in the 
forest confirmed the story first told by the runaway 
escort, that they had all been killed. 

Inluck had the king's proclamation made known 
in all the large towns in the country ; but no one was 
found brave enough to undertake the responsibility of 
leading a force into the forest. 

Several months expired, and the sheriff reported to 
the king that he could not prevail upon any one to 
attempt the capture of Robin. Whereupon the king 
got into a rage, and vowed that they were all coward* 
in the country, and that he would be obliged to take 
the field against a contemptible forest rover. 

Amongst those who were present when the king 
thus spoke, was one Sir Wiliiam Boldheart, a knight 
of considerable renown. The words were scarcely out 


of the royal mouth before he was kneeling at the feet 
of the king, beseeching him that he might be allowed 
to go down to Nottingham, hunt out the turbulent 
fellow, and bring him captive to London. 

The king gave his immediate consent, and bade the 
knight take with him what force he liked. 

Sir William selected fifty soldiers, and left London 
without delay. 

On his arrival at Nottingham, he was received with 
honours by the sheriff, and a proclamation was issued 
for additional men to accompany him into the forest. 
After considerable difficulty, the knight raised a force 
of about two hundred, and with this he determined to 
scour the forest until he met with Robin Hood and 
his band. 

Of all the knight's movements Robin was kept we. 
informed. He summoned all the members of his band 
to a meeting in the forest, to determine on the course 
of proceedings that should be adopted ; and enter- 
taining no doubts of success, it was ultimately resolved 
that they should seek a meeting with the knight's 
force and give fair battle. The members of Robin's 
band were very much elated at the prospect of 
striking a bold blow at the king's forces. 

At first they allowed the knight and his men te 
scour the forest for several days. During this time 
Robin and his band kept clo. c in their glade. After 
three days' unsuccessful searching, the knight's force 
became much diminished. 

On the fourth day Robin resolved to give Sir Wil- 
liam battle. The king's forces were armed with cross- 


bows and swords ; but they were not so skilful in the 
use of the cross-bow as Robin's men were with their 
straight bows ; and in close quarters, Robin relied 
upon the constant exercise to which his men were 
subjected to enable them to overcome their opponents. 
Robin's party numbered no more than one hundred, 
while the knight had about a hundred and fifty. 

Robin divided his force into five companies, giving 
the command of four of them to Little John, Will, 
Much, and Scathelock, retaining the fifth for himself. 

The five companies marched separately, so that not 
more than one band would be seen whenever they 
should chance to meet the enemy. Robin's object 
then was to draw the knight's force in pursuit of one 
company, so that the remaining four might have time 
to come up. Having given his men full instructions 
as to what they were to do, he led the first band into 
the forest. The other four were to follow at short 
intervals of time. The last band to leave the glade 
was that under the generalship of Little John. 

Robin marched directly towards Nottingham, where 
he hoped to meet the king's forces, just as they en- 
tered the forest ; but not so near to the town as to 
allow of their sending for reinforcements. 

Having come within four miles of the town, Robin 
ordered his men to lie down, and then blew a low 
blast upon his horn. This was intended as a signal 
to the remaining members of his force to halt at the 
point to which they had come, and remain until a 
second signal was given. 

The sound of the horn, however, reached the ears 


of Sir William, who was then in the "forest; and he 
immediatly ordered his men to follow him to the 
quarter from whence it proceeded. 

After waiting a short time where he was, Robin 
ordered his men to get up, and return in the same 
direction whence they had come. After they had 
proceeded a short distance he sounded his horn again, 
to give his friends notice that he was returning. 

At the same time Sir William was marching 
rapidly up behind Robin, and some stragglers he 
had directed to loiter behind brought up the intelli- 
gence that the soldiers were in sight. Robin imme- 
diately blew three loud blasts upon his horn, which 
was the signal for all his men to come up at once. 
Then he made his own men secrete themselves be- 
hind the trees, and directed them, as soon as ever the 
soldiers came in sight, to treat them with a flight of 

In a few minutes up came Sir William and his 
men; but the moment they came within reach a 
shower of arrows was sent amongst them. This 
brought them to a stand-still, and Sir William's voice 
was heard directing them to get behind the trees. 
The ground was dotted with several dead and dying 

In a few moments a number of them were ordered 
to advance ; but the moment they shewed them- 
selves the well-aimed arrows of the rovers made 
execution in their ranks. 

At this juncture Robin's second band arrived, and 
went under cover of the trees. When those under 


Robin fired one shower of arrows they retired behind 
the trees, in the rear of the new comers. The second 
party then fired when they got an opportunity, and 
retired in their turn, and so an incessant hail of 
arrows was kept up, so long as any of the enemy 
were visible. 

In a very short time other companies belonging to 
Robin arrived ; and then they were directed to take up 
final positions behind the trees, and stand their ground. 

The knight imitating the example set him by 
Robin, made his men hide themselves as much as 
possible behind the trees ; but directed them to 
advance towards their opponents. The moment an 
unfortunate man on either side shewed a limb three 
or four arrows were shot at him. 

After this sort of warfare had been carried on for 
some time, Robin's quick eye noted a change in the 
disposition of the enemy. They were preparing for a 
grand attack, with the view to drive Robin's men 
from under cover. They laid down their cross-bows 
and armed themselves with their swords. 

Robin blew a single blast upon his horn, which was 
the signal for his men to throw aside their bows and 
3raw their swords. This was done immediately, and 
then they quietly awaited the onslaught of their foe. 

They had not to wait long. With a loud shout 
the soldiers burst from under cover, ran swiftly 
across the intervening space, and were hand to hand 
with RoMn's men. 

Robin singled out the knight, and they crossed 
swords with much spirit. The worthy knight was no" 


match for the forest-trained arm of Robin, so that, 
after fighting for a short time, Robin, with a dex- 
terous blow, almost severed his opponent's head from 
his shoulders. 

With regard to the men, the odds against Robin 
were at first very great; but the repeated showers of 
arrows with which the knight's soldiers had been 
assailed had considerably thinned their numbers, and 
when they forsook the cover for the close conflict 
they were pretty nearly equal. 

Robin had the fullest confidence in his men. He 
directed them to stand their ground, and each select 
his man. In the confusion, however, two or three sol- 
diers had attacked a rover, and before the odds were 
balanced several of Robin's best men were slain. 
Amongst these were Much and Scathelock. Little 
John suddenly found himself face to face with four 
soldiers, all of whom struck wildly at him. He 
managed to give to two of them thrusts that ended 
their career, but was knocked down himself by the 
other two. Before they could give him the finishing 
stroke, he managed to knock both of his assailants 
over with his legs, and, before either of them could 
recover, he transfixed one with his sword, and the 
other ran away. 

Will also found himself placed at considerable odds, 
as three men sprang at him. He placed his back 
against a tree, slew one, and kept the others for some 
time well employed in warding off his blows. Before 
he could get assistance, however, he received a des- 
perate wound in his breast. Seeing the condition he 


was in, some of his men ran up, and both of his oppo- 
nents were quickly despatched. He was so des- 
perately wounded, however, that he could take no 
further part in the fray, and was laid on the grass, 
with his back resting against a tree. 

Scathelock was stabbed in the neck from behind, 
while fighting manfully; and Much tripped over a fallen 
foe, and was slain before he could recover himself. 

On being freed from his opponent, Robin moved 
amongst the combatants, cheering his men. Wherever 
he saw one of his men overmatched he plucked him 
aside and took his place, fighting until he had either 
killed or wounded his foe. 

There came at length a general cry from the 
knight's men for quarter, and Robin sounded his 
horn as the signal for leaving off the fight. 

He directed the knight's men to give up their 
arms, and submit to be bound, promising that he 
would spare their lives. 

On walking over the field, Robin found that beside 
those mentioned there lay dead David of Doncaster, 
Gilbert with the Whitehand, and ten others, while 
about twenty more were wounded. Of the knight's 
force, he found that twenty had been slain, and forty 
had received severe wounds. Eighty more submitted 
as prisoners, and the remainder had either been slain 
by arrows or had run away. 

A litter was made, and Will was carried off to the 
Greenwood Glade, to have his wounds dressed. Two 
of the prisoners and four of Robin's men were directed 
to remain with the wounded, and the other prisoners 


and the rovers returned with Robin to the visitors' 

From here Robin despatched bread, meat, wine, 
and water to those who lay in the forest, and directed 
bandages to be prepared for the wounded men. 

Friar Tuck volunteered to go to the wounded, and 
was accompanied by Ellen, Alan, and one or two 
more, who had been left behind. 

Will, on reaching the Greenwood Glade, was imme- 
diately attended to by Marian. It was evident to 
her at first sight that his hours were numbered. He 
was suffering from a raging thirst, and talked inco- 
herently about the fight. All Marian's skill was 
unavailing to staunch the flow of blood, and, after 
fhe lapse of an hour, she sent for Robin, telling the 
messenger to say that she was afraid Will was 
dying. When Robin came, he found Will lying on 
a bed of rushes, near the house. It was a glorious 
summer evening. Light clouds were skimming 
across the heavens, away from the setting sun, as 
though, weary of the brightness, they longed for 
shadow and rest. The tops of the trees were tipped 
with the golden rays of the sun, and the leaves 
trembled with a gentle murmuring sound, as though 
they were unwilling to part with the bright warmth 
and light of day. Will lay with his eyes fixedly 
gazing into the heavens. He did not speak as Robin 
bent over him, and peered into his face. He was 
sinking fast. Then Will spoke, as though he was 
taking part in scenes that had transpired long years 
before. He spoke of Ivy Harper, and murmured, 


"Poor Marian!" Then he was silent, and Marian's 
tears fell on the dying man's face. Again his lips 
moved, and his two friends just caught the words, 
feebly whispered, " Father, father, wait a bit, I am 
coming." Then death came, and Will's spirit fled. 

Robin and Marian were both much affected at the 
loss of their old companion. There was no time to 
be spent, however, in mourning, and after the first 
burst of grief was over, he led Marian away with 
him, thinking that the excitement of tending the 
wounded would distract her attention from Will's 

" Are you strong enough," said Robin, " to look 
upon the faces of many wounded men that need your 
help. The dead will not frighten you, I know, though 
they lie thick in the forest." 

" I am strong enough to do my duty," Marian re- 
plied, " and I am not afraid of the dead ; I have 
looked upon the faces of those that were dear to me. 
You remember once, in the dead of night, when we 
looked upon the face of one very dear to me. I was 
not afraid then, and I am even stronger now." 

Robin forthwith accompanied Marian to the place 
where the fight had taken place. There he found 
the king's exchequer collector and the commander of 
the late expedition against him, with the others 
whom they had kept prisoners in the forest. They 
were all busying themselves in attending to the 
wounded. The whole night was spent in binding up 
wounds and attending to the wants of the poor men. 
In the morning many of them were able to walk to 


the visitors' glade, while others were carried thither 
on litters constructed for the purpose. 

Then came the task of burying the dead. Several 
graves were dug in the forest. In one huge grave 
were laid the bodies of the knight's men, and in 
another Robin's. The knight himself was buried, 
with all honour, in a separate grave ; Much, Scathe- 
lock, Will, David, and Gilbert also had separate 
graves dug for them. 

The result of this battle made a great impression 
upon Robin. The wounded men were kindly nursed, 
until perfectly recovered, and then were allowed to 
depart, together with the exchequer collector and his 
party, who had been in the forest for a considerable time. 

Before these men left the forest, however, Robin 
called his band together, and told them that he 
should sue to the king for pardon, and that if the 
king granted it, then he should dismiss them all to 
their homes. 

All the band, affected by the loss of their leaders, 
assented to the proposition. 

Robin then begged Lovelace, the collector and the 
commander, to tell the king that they prayed for his 
royal clemency, and were willing, if he would pardon 
them, and permit them to return to their homes, to 
deliver up half the money that they had obtained 
from the collector. 

The treatment that the chief prisoners had received, 
was of such a character as to create a favourable im- 
pression upon them, and they declared that Robin's 
message should be faithfully delivered. 


Robin and his Band receive the King's Pardon Little John and Friar 
Tuck go to the Castle of Sir Richard of the Lea The Friar's Death 
Ellen and Alan Return to the Dale Robin and Marian go up to 
London Their Return to Sherwood Marian's Death. 

jjNTIL the return of a messenger from Lon- 
don, Robin and his friends remained in 
the forest ; but their heavy loss in the con- 
flict with Sir William Boldheart weighed 
heavily upon their spirits, and their days were not so 
merry as they had been. 

After the lapse of several weeks, Sir Thomas Love- 
lace returned from London. He was directed by the 
king to take the sheriff of Nottingham with him into 
the forest as an escort. The sheriff was very unwil- 
ling to go there again ; but consented readily when 
he found that it was to convey to Robin the news of 
the king's favour. 

The sheriff collected together far more men than 

had ever been willing to go with him on a warlike 

expedition, and started off with Sir Thomas Lovelace 

to fetch Robin. 

The collection of so large a force of men in the 


town attracted considerable attention, and the news 
soon spread that Robin's pardon had arrived. 

This fact was conveyed to Robin by one of his 
friends ; but with his usual caution Robin refused to 
trust himself to the tender mercies of the sheriff. 

The first expedition, therefore, returned from the 
forest without having come in contact with the noted 

On the following morning, when about to set out 
again, Robin contrived to send a message to Sir 
Thomas Lovelace that he would not meet him unless 
he came accompanied with the sheriff only. 

The sheriff, however, refused flatly to go with Sir 
Thomas, and the knight at length determined to go 
alone. He was not at all afraid of meeting with Robin, 
having learned his real worth while a captive in the 
forest. The brave knight set forth alone, and when 
he had penetrated several miles into the heart of the 
forest, he blew a loud blast upon his horn. The sound 
had scarcely died away before Robin stood by his 

Sir Thomas begged Robin's forgiveness for having 
given him the slightest ground for alarm, and then 
exhibited the king's pardon, sealed with the great seal 
of the kingdom. 

Robin then led him to Friar Tuck and the rest of 
the band, and the document was read aloud in the 
hearing of all. Then there followed much shouting 
and clapping of hands. 

There was one stipulation in the document which 
"Robin was unwilling to accede to at first. This was, 


that he and Marian should go up to London. He 
was very doubtful about trusting himself to a king, 
knowing that they sometimes broke their promises 
like common men. 

Sir Thomas Lovelace insisted that this was a part 
of the contract, and to assure Robin of the king's 
favour, he handed him a ring which the king had 

This removed all suspicion from Robin's mind. 

That day they had a last feast in the forest, that 
had during so many years rung with their merry 

The following morning they all set out for Notting- 
ham. The sheriff was summoned, and Sir Thomas 
Lovelace made him take an oath before all the people 
in the market-place, that he would suffer no ill to come 
to any of Robin's men who might choose to remain 
in Nottingham, on account of any part they had taken 
with Robin Hood. 

After a few days had passed, Robin and Marian 
started off with Sir Thomas Lovelace on their way to 

When the time came to part, Little John and Friar 
Tuck were very much puzzled what to do with them- 
selves. The friar declared, if he entered a religious 
house again, he would have to do penance for the re- 
mainder of his life. He had thriven so well upon his 
forest fare, that doing penance would be a very serious 
matter to him. 

Little John declared, that his forest life had unfitted 
him for any other sort. 


In this extremity, they bethought themselves of the 
invitation long before given them by Sir Richard of 
the Lea, and they determined to proceed thither. 

Sir Richard received them gladly, saying he wanted 
an honest man and a true priest ; and he was sure he 
should find in them the qualifications he sought. 

Little John had an important office assigned him 
in the defence of the castle ; and Friar Tuck was told 
to do just what he liked. So he turned his attention 
to the study of herbs. In the morning and evening 
he might have been seen wandering beside the rippling 
streams, gathering such herbs as he believed contained 
medicinal properties ; or strolling amongst the grand 
old forest trees, gathering plants that were commonly 
believed to possess healing qualities. Sometimes, it 
must be confessed, he would be found lurking in the 
kitchen while the cooking was going on, and giving 
very impressive directions about the roasting of joints. 
Sometimes he assisted in the celebration of mass ; but 
this did not take place very often. 

One day the friar went out to gather some herbs of 
which he was in want, and when night came he did 
not return. He was missed by Little John after his 
duties were over for the day. It was the first time 
he had been absent at so late an hour. No alarm was, 
however, excited ; and Little John jocularly declared 
that he must have met with some village maiden, and 
was detained hearing her confession. 

In the afternoon of the following day, as he had not 
returned, a party was sent out to search for him. 
They were proceeding along the edge of a stream that 


ran through the forest, not far from the knight's castle, 
when they found him lying on his face, his feet just 
washed by the running water. His right hand was 
outstretched, as though he had fallen while in the act 
of plucking an herb. His eyes were distended, and 
his mouth wide open. He was quite dead. It was 
supposed that he had been attacked by a fit, and had 
fallen dead upon the ground. His body was removed 
to the castle. A grave was dug in the forest under a 
giant oak, and at night he was laid therein, to sleep 
the last long sleep, and mingle his dust with the soil 
of that same forest he had so loved in life. 

The day that Robin's pardon was brought by Sir 
Thomas Lovelace, a messenger arrived in the forest 
from the Dale, with a message from Ellen's parents. 
Old Hardfist was lying in a very infirm state at his 
house, and he was very anxious for Ellen and Alan 
to return and live with him. They both had the old 
man's pardon, the messenger said, and would be 
amply provided for at his death. 

Robin advised them to return. They consented, 
and bade their old forest friends a sorrowful farewell. 

During the years that had passed since Ellen's mar- 
riage, Hardfist and his dame had gradually become 
reconciled to their disappointment. 

The Baron de Younglove had solaced himself soon 
after Ellen's escape, by taking a young village maiden 
for his wife. But soon afterwards, strange tales of 
her sufferings were circulated in the village, and one 
day her body was found lying in the moat The 
people of the Dale, believing that she had been mur- 


dered, rose up in arms against the old baron, and gave 
him such a thrashing as brought on his death. The 
castle then passed into the hands of another baron, 
who had no other right to it than that which his sword 
afforded. But the new comer soon made friends of 
the inhabitants of the Dale by his kindness and 

Ellen took her place in Hardfist's household as 
general manager, and both her parents were tended 
with the utmost affection. In the years that had 
elapsed Ellen had become a woman in thought, in 
care, and in love. After a few years had gone by 
the very happiest of his experience old Hardfist 
died, and was buried. A few months afterwards his 
dame was carried to the same grave. Ellen and 
Alan remained in the Dale, enjoying many years of 
happiness together, and died in a ripe old age. 

On their progress to London, Sir Thomas Lovelace 
made no secret that he had with him Robin Hood 
and Marian. The consequence was, that in every 
town and city through which they passed, they were 
received with all the honour that was usually accorded 
to the king. Robin learned, very much to his surprise, 
the esteem in which he was held throughout the 
country, for his defence of the oppressed Saxons, and 
kindness to the poor and needy. 

On arriving in London, there was just as enthu- 
siastic a reception accorded him as he had enjoyed in 
the country, and the king received him at court with 
marks of distinguished favour. 

The king conferred upon him the post of com- 


mander of his private company of archers ; and one 
part of Robin's duty consisted in attending upon the 
king, with his men, whenever they went out hunt- 

His new occupation gave him extreme pleasure at 
first ; but, after the lapse of several months, he grew 
tired of the court etiquette, and longed to be back 
again amongst the trees, and birds, and fallow-deer of 

Marian also grew weary of the restraints of court 
life and her confinement in the city, and sickness 
seized her. 

Robin went to the king, and asked his permission 
to return to Sherwood. 

The king asked him what he still lacked, and 
Robin replied, " Nothing but the free air of the 
forest." When the king looked upon Marian's coun- 
tenance, and saw how changed she was, he gave con- 
sent, and they left London to return to their native 
woods again. 

Before they left, Robin sought an interview with 
the king, and promised he would never draw a bow 
against one of the king's subjects so long as he lived, 

The king laughingly asked Robin whether the 
promise ought not also to extend to his fallow-deer. 

But Robin said nothing in reply. 

They left London with several horses laden with 
presents, from the nobility about the court. 

The return journey was a long and tedious one. 
On the way, Marian's illness increased so much that 
before her arrival at Nottingham she was utterly 


prostrated, and Robin had a litter constructed for her 
to ride in. At length they reached Nottingham, and, 
after resting one night, they departed for the castle of 
Sir Richard of the Lea. 

Here they were welcomed very heartily ; but when 
Sir Richard and his lady looked upon the face of 
Marian their hearts sank within them. 

Marian was nursed with the utmost care and ten- 
derness by the knight's lady, but her strength 
gradually declined, and Robin felt that he would 
soon lose the devoted partner of an eventful life. He 
was ceaseless in his attentions to her, and watched 
beside her couch by night as well as day. 

For several days after their arrival at the castle, 
Marian talked with Robin of events that had tran- 
spired in the years that had fled. She spoke of their 
first meeting in the forest, of the wild flowers, the 
singing birds, the fallow-deer, and the running streams 
of the forest. Then her memory seemed to go further 
back, and her very earliest remembrances came up 
dim recollections that seemed to have a bare shadowy 
outline, and nothing more. 

One evening they had been talking several hours. 
It was summer time, and Marian lay before an open 
casement, through which she looked out upon the 
broad expanse of forest, and could hear the birds 
sing to their mates. The deep blue of the sky was 
relieved by soft clouds of the purest white. Marian 
lay perfectly still, gazing upon the lovely scene before 
her. Robin fancied he saw a change come over her 
face. She was lying on one of the softest beds that 


the castle possessed. Her head was propped upon 
pillows, and inclined to Robin's arm, which was 
stretched upon them. Her pale thin features were 
overspread with a pallor that told of the approach of 
a crisis, and Robin's heart beat with tenfold haste. 

"Robin, Robin!" Marian exclaimed suddenly, 
" lead me across the square ; I must see him once 
more." As she spoke she placed her feverish hand 
upon Robin's neck. " Ah ! there," she continued, " I 
knew they had killed him. How still he lies, Robin. 
Take care, or you will wake him. This horn is for 
you ; wake the echoes. Robin, bind those flowers in 
your hair ; I gathered them for you." Then regaining 
partial consciousness, " It is hard, but you are left, 
Robin, and you will love me. Poor Will dead too, 
and killed, they say." 

Her voice and manner then changed. She raised 
her head, and saw that Robin's face was wet with 
tears. She drew his head down to her face, kissed 
the tears away from his cheeks, and, in a calm voice, 
said, " Robin, don't weep about me, but be glad, for I 
am happy, very happy ; and in that place where I am 
going I shall see those I have loved, and you will 
follow when the right day comes. When we meet 

there" unconsciousness returned, and she spoke 

as though she fancied she was binding up Will's 
wounds again; and she chided Friar Tuck for not 
helping her. 

Again she seemed to slumber, but in a moment 
began to breathe heavily. 

While she lay thus, Sir Richard's lady entered. 


On looking at Marian she started, and clasped her 
hands, as though appalled by her thoughts. There 
she stood, with hands still clasped, and looked on, 
without saying a word. 

In a few minutes Marian opened her eyes again, 
and smiled when she saw the lady present. She 
turned to Robin, gently drew his hand from the 
pillow, took it within both of hers, and murmured 
words that he could not understand. Her look 
changed while she essayed to speak, her eyes were 
fixed upon his. He bent his head, and heard her 
whisper, " Robin, Robin !" then she was silent. 

This was death. 

But Robin would not believe that she was dead, and 
seemed oblivious of everything. He did not speak or 
move, and when spoken to made no reply. Then 
Sir Richard came to lead him away, and he went out 
from the chamber, and bowed his head in the ex- 
tremity of his grief. He lay as in a stupor for nearly 
an hour, when a wild burst of anguish shook his 

The preparations for the burial were soon com- 
pleted. Robin chose a grave beneath an old oak that 
grew on the slope of a hill, which was thickly car- 
peted with flowers. There Marian was buried. 
Close by, at the foot of the slope, ran a stream, 
whose murmuring voice mourned unceasingly, in the 
sunlight and in the darkness, for her who never 
would return. 

2 K 


Death of Robin Hood and Little John. 

jjHOSE were weary months that followed 
upon the death of Marian. Day by day 
Robin repaired to Marian's last resting 
place. He carved a rude cross, which he 
fixed amongst some stones, at the head of her grave. 
By that cross he would spend hours of each day, 
living over again the past. After a time, when the 
bitterness of his sorrow had somewhat abated, though 
the strength of his love was in no wise lessened, Little 
John became his constant companion, accompanying 
him into the forest every day. Now and then they 
shot a deer, just to supply the wants of his castle 

Months passed, and those excursions into the forest 
took them longer distances, and sometimes they 
would sleep in the forest, and hunt the next day. 
These exercises were, however, too much for Robin's 
strength now. 

One day, towards the close of the summer of 1225, 


he complained to Little John of feeling ill. They 
were then in the neighbourhood of Kirklees Abbey. 

" Master," said Little John, " we are near to the 
abbey, and methinks the skilful hand of the abbess 
will soon restore thee." 

Robin was too ill to make objection ; so to the 
abbey they wended their way. On arriving at the 
abbey, the good abbess was summoned. 

Quoth Robin to her, " Once thou gavest me shelter 
from armed men, and my life was saved. Now I 
have come to crave rest for a brief time, and me- 
thinks it will be the last boon I shall ask from mortal, 
for I go a journey longer and stranger than I have 
ever gone before." 

" Thou art right welcome to the abbey," said the 
abbess; "as for the long journey of which thou 
speakest, when God wills man cannot hold back." 

A little room over the gateway to the abbey was 
allotted to Robin, and thither he was conveyed by 
Little John. 

As soon as he had rested a short time, Marian Pin- 
kerly bled him in the arm. That night Robin grew 
rapidly worse, and in the morning the abbess de- 
clared he was attacked with fever. 

All the skill she possessed was exerted to restore 
him to health. Little John never left his master's 
couch for an hour, but carried out all the directions 
given him by the abbess, as to the application of the 
remedies which she prescribed. 

Several days passed, the crisis came, and the good 
abbess watched beside him, as anxious as Little John 


to note the first change that might betoken good or 

In the little church hard by, in which he had afore- 
time taken sanctuary, several nuns knelt at the altar 
offering up prayers on his behalf. 

At length, the abbess fancied she noticed a change 
in her patient. He was less restless than he had 
been, his breathing was more regular, and his sleep 
peaceful. Kneeling beside his couch, she clasped her 
hands in prayer, exclaiming, " Thank God, the worst 
is past, and hjs life will be spared. To the Father 
be all the glory." 

Little John bent his head as the words of prayer 
were uttered, and spoke a hearty " Amen." 

On raising his head, he brushed away, as though 
ashamed of himself, some tears that would trickle 
down his cheeks, and then fixed his gaze again upon 
the sorrow-furrowed face of his master. 

The abbess rose from her knees, and proceeded to 
the church, where she ordered the nuns to sing a 
hymn of praise for Robin's recovery. 

He did recover from that moment. His strength 
returned rapidly, and in a few days but too soon for 
his strength he got up, and went out with Little 
John for a ramble in the forest. This gave him a 
fresh cold, and his illness returned. 

Days and nights of anxious watching were again 
spent by Little John, while the abbess relaxed 
nothing of her kind attention to promote his restora- 
tion to health. All was without avail. He rapidly 
sank. He lay unconscious for several days, during 


which time all that he uttered was the name of 
Marian. Then reason returned, and certain signs of 
death were noticed. , 

It was evening. Little John leaned upon the case- 
ment, which was open. The rays of the setting sun 
played in golden gleams about the face of the dying 

" Little John," he exclaimed, " I feel new strength 
within me ; bring me my bow, and let me shoot once 
more !" 

"Master, at what wouldst thou shoot?" quoth 
Little John. 

" My grave," said Robin, " for before morning I 
shall die!" 

Little John brought Robin his bow, and propped 
him up, so that he might take aim through the case- 
ment. Fitting an arrow to the string, Robin shot an 
arrow, which fell to the ground beneath some old 

" Master, it is a fair shoot," said Little John. 

"Where the arrow is, there let me be buried to- 
morrow," said Robin. 

During that night Little John watched with a heavy 
heart beside his master's couch. A small lamp 
burned feebly in the room. The chamber was per- 
vaded by shadows. Midnight had passed ; the first 
faint streaks of light were stretching themselves over 
the heavens. 

Little John caught the sound of singing. It came 
from the church, where the nuns were chanting their 
customary hymns. Robin caught the sound. He 

5 08 R OB IN HO OD. 

had been sleeping, Little John thought, but it was a 
kind of stupor. The singing roused Robin. After 
appearing to listen for a moment or two, he raised his 
right hand, and waved it in the air. It fell heavily 
upon his breast. He was dead. 

Little John told the abbess immediately, and the 
song of praise was changed to a lament for the dead. 

Robin was buried in the spot where the arrow 
rested, beneath the old yews that for centuries had 
withstood the storms of heaven, and whose gnarled 
and knotted trunks were not inapt illustrations of the 
life of him who was laid beneath their shade. 

Little John returned to the castle of Sir Richard. 
After a few months his restlessness returned upon 
him, and he went forth to wander for a time about 
the forest, and the villages bordering thereon. Then 
he found rest, 

" And Little John, the master's favourite man, 
Stiff in his giant bones at Hathersedge, 
Sleeps on till doom, amongst the Derby hills."* 

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6, 4 




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In 4to, price as. 6d. ,. <fc 

Naomi ; or, The Last Days of Jerusalem. By Mrs. 12 6 

WEBB. With Steel Plates. 

The Prince of the House of David. With 60 


In 8vo, price IOS. 6d. 

Discoveries and Inventions of the Nineteenth 10 6 

Century. By ROBERT ROUTLEDGE, B.Sc., F.C.S., Assistant 
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numerous Illustrations. 

The Young Lady's Book. By the Author of "A 

Trap to Catch a Sunbeam." An entirely New Book of Occupa- 
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The Adventures of Captain Hatteras. By JULES 


' FIELD OF ICE. 220 Illustrations by Riou. 

The Sunlight of Song. With Original Music by 
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In small 4*0, cloth gilt, price 8s. 6d. ; gilt edges, gs. 6d. 

Every Boy's Book. A New Edition. Edited by 8 6 

EDMUND ROUTLEDGE. A Complete Cyclopaedia of Sport and 
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In 410, and royal 8vo, cloth gilt and gilt edges, price 78. 6d. each. 
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Grimm's Household Stories. With 220 Plates. 76 
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WILLIAM HOWITT. With many Illustrations. 

Little Barefoot. A Domestic Tde. By BERTHOLD 

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A New Book by Auerbach. With 300 Illustrations. 
Household Tales and Fairy Stones. With 380 

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7 6 Bonnechose's France. A New Edition. 1872. 
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National Nursery Rhymes. Set to Music by J. W. 

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LONGFELLOW, i vol., crown 8vo, cloth. 

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Robinson Crusoe. With 1 10 Plates by J. D. WAT- 

Sheridan Knowles' Dramatic Works. 

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< 6 o Routledge's Every Boy's Annual for 1876. Edited 

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Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea. By W. H. G. 

KINGSTON. With more than zoo Illustrations. - - 

The Adventures of Robinson Playfellow, a Young 

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Bab Ballads. By W. S. GILBERT. With Illustra- 
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Travelling About. By Lady BARKER. With Six 

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Pepper's Boy's Play-book of Science. 400 Plates. 
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An Illustrated Natural History. By the Rev. J. G. 

WOOD, M.A. 500 Illustrations. 

The Playfellow. By HARRIET MARTINEAU; With 

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The English at the North Pole. By JULES VERNS. 

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The Field of Ice. By JULES VERNE. 129 Illustra- 
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Longfellow's Complete Poetical Works. With 

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Once upon a Time. By 

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What Menhave said about 

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British Heroes in Foreign 

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With Coloured Plates. ~ 
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Walter Crane's Picture Book. With 64 pages of 

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Country Life. Illustrated by Poetry, and 40 Pictures 

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Chimes and Rhymes for Youthful Times. With 

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Buttercups and Daisies. A new Coloured Book for 

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Watts' Divine and Moral Songs. With 108 Wood- 
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Original Poems for Infant Minds. By JANE and 

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Little Lays for Little Folk. Selected by J. G. 

WATTS. With Original Illustrations by the best living Artists, 
engraved by J. D. COOPER. 4to, cloth, gilt edges. 

The Picture Book of Reptiles, Fishes, and In- 
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Birds. By the Rev. J. G. 

WOOD, M.A. With 242 Illustrations. 4to, cloth. 

Mammalia. By the Rev. J. 

G. WOOD, M.A. With 250 Illustrations. 4to, cloth. 

Happy Day Stories for the Young. By Dr. 

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la super-royal 8vo, cloth gilt, price 53. 

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5 o Walter Crane's Picture Book. Containing 64 

pages of Pictures, designed by WALTER CRANE, viz. : "Luckie- 
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Walter Crane's New Toy Book. Containing 64 

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Goody Two-Shoes Picture Book. Containing 

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Routledge's Coloured ABC Book. Containing 

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My Mother's Picture Book. Containing "My 

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_ . .. *. d. 

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Life of Richelieu. By W. 

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The Boy's Own Country 4 6 

Book. By Miller. 
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Rev. H. C. Adams. 
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Watch the End. 
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3 6 Bruin. 

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Tom and the Crocodiles. 




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Footprints of Famous 
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teristics. By Rev. y. G. 

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Red Eric. By R. M. Bal- 

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. Adams. 


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Will Adams. By Dalton. 
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A Country Life. By W. 
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Jack of the Mill. By W. 

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Opening a Chestnut Burr. 

By the Rev. C. P. Roe. 


Dick Rodney. By James What Might Have been 
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T 1, VT 1.. J} y J a I nr. , ~^, ., . 

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A Collection of DE LA MOTTE FOUQUE'S most Popular Fairy Tales, 
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3 6 The Four Seasons. 
Romantic Fiction. 

I The Magic Ring. 

Other Vols. to follow. 



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Otto Speckter's Fables. With 100 Coloured Plates. 3 6 

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Routledge's Sunday Album for Children. With 

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Inferno. Nineteenth Century. 


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1,001 Gems of British 3 6 

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Curiosities of Literature. 
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Frank Wildman's Adven- 

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The Little Wide- Awake for 1876. By Mrs. SALE 

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Fcap. 8vo, Illustrated by the Best Artists, gilt, as. 6d. each. 

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Cousins. By M. M. Bell. 


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Friend or Foe : A Tale of 

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other Tales. By Mrs. S. C. 

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Minna Raymond. Illus- 

Matilda Lonsdale. 

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Helena Bertram. By the 

The Life of Wellington. 
The Glen Luna Family. 

Author of " The Four 

Uncle Tom's Cabin. 

Sisters. 1 ' 
Heroes of the Workshop, 
&c. By E. L. Bright-well. 

Mabel Vaughan. 
The Boy's Book about 

Sunshine and Cloud. By 
Miss Bowman. 


Christian Melville. 

The Maze of Life. By 

The Letter of Marque. 

the Author of " The Four 

The Swiss Family Robin- 

Sisters " 


The Wide, Wide World. 

Evenings at Home. 

The Lamplighter. By 

Sandford and Merlon. 


The Rector's Daughter. 
By Miss Bowman. 
The Old Helmet. By 
Miss Wetherell. 

Stepping Heavenward. 
Kaloolah. KyW. S. Mayo. 
Patience Strong. By the 
Author ^of ? 'T/ie Cay- 

The Secret of a Life. 
Queechy. By Miss Wdlie- 

Gulliver's Travels. With 
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Sir Roland Ashton. By 

The Life of Nelson. By 

Lady C. Long. 
Sir Wilfred's Seven 

The Young Gold Digger. 
By Gerstaecker. 

Flights. By Madame de 

Robinson Crusoe. 




s. d. 

2 6 EllenMontgomeiy'sBook- i The Gayworthys. By the 
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Andersen's Fairy Tales. 

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Grimm's Home Stories. 
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The Medwins of Wyke- 
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P. L. Simmonds. 
Stepping Heavenward, and 
Aunt Jane's Hero. 
Footprints on Life's Path- 

The Boy Cavalier. By 
the Rev. H. C. Adams. 

Lamb's Tales. 
Stories of Old Daniel. 

Sceptres and Crowns, and 
the Flag of Truce. 
Captain Cook's Voyages. 
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Extraordinary Men. 
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Popular Astronomy. j Ad ventures of Robin Hood. 

The Orbs of Heaven. Coloured Plates. 


In small post, 8vo, cloth gilt, well Illustrated. 

2 6 The Wide, Wide World, i The Two School Girls. 
The Lamplighter. Melbourne House. . 

The Old Helmet. Glen Luna; or, Speculation. 

Queechy. i Mabel Vaughan. 

EllenMontgomery's Book- | Patience Strong. 


Most of the abovi are by Miss \Vethere2l. 



square royal, gilt, 2s. each. 

Amusing Tales for Young 
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The Broken Pitcher, and 
other Stories. 

The Little Lychetts. By 

the Author of " Olive" &c. 
Historical Tales. 
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My First Picture Book, 36 

pages of Coloured Plates. 

i6mo, cloth. 
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Little Lily's Picture Book. 

With 96 Pages of Plates. 

*. d. 

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Old Mother Hubbard's 
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Cock Robin's Picture 
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Aunt Mary's Sunday Pic- 
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Sunday Reading for Good 

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Pussy's Picture Book, 36 
pages of ditto. 

Birdie's Picture Book, 
with 36 pages of Coloured 


With Illustrations, strongly bound in cloth. 

Juvenile Tales for all Sea- 

Evenings at Donaldson 

Grace and Isabel. By 

Gertrude and Eulalie. 

Robert and Harold. 

Robinson the Younger. 

Amy Carlton. 

Robinson Crusoe. 

Laura Temple. 

Harry and his Homes. 

Our Native Land. 

The Solitary Hunter. 

Bundle of Sticks. 

Hester and I ; or, Beware 
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The Cherry Stones. By 2 o 

Rev. H. C. Adams. 
The First of June. By 

Rev. H. C. Adams. 
Rosa : A Story for Girls. 
May Dundas; or, The 

Force of Example. By Mrs. 

Glimpses of Our Island 

Home. By Mrs. Geldart. 
The Indian Boy. By Rev. 

H. C. Adams. 
Ernie Elton at Home. 
The Standard Poetry 

Book for Schools. 
Try and Trust. ty Author 

of^ "Arthur M or land." 
Swiss Family Robinson. 
Evenings at Home. 


Two-SniLLiNO GIFT-BOOKS, continued. 

5. d. 

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Adventures among the In- 

John Hartley. 
Jack of all Trades. By 

Cousin Aleck. 
The Doctor's Birthday. By 

The Wonder Book. 

theRev.H. C.Adams. 

Tanglewood Tales. 
Archie Blake. 
Inez and Emmeline. 
The Orphan of Waterloo. 

Walter's Friend. By the 
Rev. H. C. Adams. 
Sweet Violets. By the 
A uthor of "A Trap to Catch 

Maum Guinea. Ragged Robin, and other 

Todd's Lectures lo Chil- Tales. By the Author- of "A 

dren. Trap to Catch a Sunbeam." 

Marooner's Island. 

The School Friends. By 

The Mayflower. By 
Mrs. Stcnue. 

\V. H. G. Kingston. 
Sunday Evenings at Home. 

Anecdotes of Dogs. 

By the Rev. H. C. Adams. 

Mr. Rutherford's Chil- 

ist series. 

The Play-Day Book. By 
Faniiy Fern. Coloured 

Wild Rose. By the Author 
of " A Trap to Catch a Sun- 

Emma. By Jane Austen. 
Mansfield Park. By Jane 

Snowdrop. By the Author 
of "A Trap to Catch a Sun- 

Northanger Abbey. By 

The Ocean Child. By Mrs. 


Jane Austen. 
Village Sketches. By the 

Gulliver's Travels, with 
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Rev. C.T. Whitehead. 
Spider Spinnings. 

The Lost Rifle. By the 

Rev. H. C. Adams. 

Stories for Sundays. By 

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the Rev. H. C. Adams. 

Songs. 60 Cuts. 

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and Series. 

Captain Cook's Voyages. 
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In square i6mo, cloth, with Illustrations by GILBERT, ABSOLON, &c. 

I 6 Peasant and Prince. By 

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Harriet Martineau. 

By Mrs. Geldart. 

Crofton Boys. By ditto. 

Truth is Everything. By 

Feats on the Fiord. By do. 

Mrs. Geldart. 

Settlers at Home. By ditto. 

Rainbows in Springtide. 

Holiday Rambles ; or, The 

Christmas Holidays. By 

School Vacation. 

Miss Jane Strickland. 



s. d. 

Rpse and Kate ; or, The I 6 

Little Howards. 

Aunt Emma. By the Au- 
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The Island of the Rain- 
bow. By Mr. Ncivton Cross- 

Max Frere ; or, Return 
Good for Evil. 

The Child's First Book of 
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Florence the Orphan. 

The Castle and Cottage. 

Little Drummer : A Tale 

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Frank. By Maria Edge- 

Rosamond. By Maria 

Harry and Lucy, Little 

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By the AutJior of " John. 

Story of an Apple. By 

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Black Princess. 
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Works Wonders. 
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G. H. Hall. 
Runaways (The) and the 

Daddy Dacre's School. By 

Mrs. Hall. 
British Wolf Hunters. By 


By P erring. 



Mrs. Triir. 

Mrs. Barbauld's Lessons. 

Traditions of Palestine. 
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On the Sea. By Miss 

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Athletic Sports. 

Games of Skill. 

Scientific Amusements. 

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Boy Life on the Water. 

Original Poems. Com- 
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Home and Foreign Birds. 
150 Plates. 

Wild and Domestic Ani- 
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How Paul Arnold Made 
His Fortune. 

The Billow and the Rock. 
By Miss Martineau. 

School. By the Author of , A Year at School. By 

" The Twins. Tom Brown 

Daily Thoughts for Chil- I ^ sop ' s Fables. With 50 

dren. By Mrs. Celdart. Plates 

Holidays at Limewood. | Honou r and G lory. 

Maria Wright. 
Anchor of Hope ; or, New 

Testament Lessons. By 

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Mrs. Loudon's Young 

Think Before you Act. 

Stories for Heedless Children. 
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Lesson of Life. By D. Rich- 
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I o The Book of One Syllable. The Sunday Book of 

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The New Book of One Susy's Teachers. By the 

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Readers. Coloured Plates. i Susy's Servants. By ditto. 

Price is. each. 

Youens' Bail-Room Guide. With Rules and Music. 

Cloth, gilt edges. 

The Nursery Library. 12 Books hi a Packet. 
Routledge's British Reading-Book. Plate on every 

page, demy 8vo, cloth. 

Routledge's British Spelling-Book. Demy 8vo, 

cloth. 300 Plates. 

Routledge's Comic Reciter. Fcap. 8vo, boards. 

Popular Reciter. Fcap. 8vo, boards. 

Temperance Reciter. 

Ready-Made Speeches. Fcap. 8vo, boards. 

The Illustrated Language of Flowers. By Mrs. 



In small 410, cloth, each with 48 pages of Plates, is. each. 
I O Master Jack. , Nursery Rhymes. 

Mamma's Return. | The Tiger Lily. 

Nellie and Bertha. i The Lent Jewels. 

The Cousins. 
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Cat. ' 

Bible Stories. 
My Best Frock. 
Prince Hempseed. 

With Coloured Plates, fancy boards. 

| I o My A B C Book. } The Farmyard ABC. 

Nursery Rhymes and I TheChild's Book of Trades. 

Songs. Animals and Birds. 

Old Testament ABC. j The Three Envious Men. 

Little Stones for Good | The Two Neighbours, 

r-'kn^.-on j T-, -,,. ,. ,., .. 

T ,' i The Canary Bird. 



i8mo, price is., well printed, with Illustrations. 

Grace Greenwood's Stories 
for her Nephews and Nieces. 

Helen's Fault. By the 
Author of "Adelaide Lind- 

The' Cousins. By Miss 

M 'Intosh. 
Ben Howard ; or, Truth 

and Honesty. By C. Adams. 
Bessie and Tom : A Book 

for Boys and Girls. 
Beechnut : A Franconian 

Story. By Jacob Abbott. 
Wallace : A Franconian 

Story. By Jacob Abbott. 
Madeline. By Jacob Abbott. 
Mary Erskine. By Jacob 


Mary Bell. By Jacob Ab- 
Visit to my Birth-place. By 

Miss Bunbury. 
Carl Krinken ; or, The 

Christmas Stocking. By Miss 

Mr. Rutherford's Children. 

By Miss Wetherell. 
Mr. Rutherford's Children. 

andseries. By Miss Wetherell. 
Emily Herbert. By Miss 

Rose and Lillie Stanhope. 

By Miss M'Intosh. 
Casper. By Miss Wetherell. 
The Brave Boy ; or, Chris- 
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Magdalene and Raphael. 
The Story of a Mouse. By 

Mrs. Perring. 
Our Charlie. By Mrs. 

Uncle Frank's Home 


r. d. 
Village School-feast. By i o 

Mrs. Perring. 
Nelly, the Gipsy Girl. 
The Birthday Visit. By 

Miss Wetherell 
Stories for Week Days and 

Maggie and Emma. By 

Miss M'Intosh. 
Charlie and Georgie ; or, 

The Children at Gibraltar. 
Story of a Penny. By Mrs. 

Aunt Maddy's Diamonds. 

By Harriet Myrtle. 
Two School Girls. By 

Miss Wetherell. 
The Widow and her 

Daughter. By Miss Wethe- 
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Miss Wetherell. 
The Rose in the Desert. 

By Miss Wetherell. 

The Little Black Hen. By 

Miss Wetherell. 
Martha and Rachael. 

By Miss WetJierell. 
The Carpenter's Daughter. 

By MissWetherell. 
The Story of a Cat. 

By Mrs. Perring. 
Easy Poetry for Children , 

With a Coloured Frontispiece 

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The Basket of Flowers. 

With a Coloured Frontispiece 

and Vignette. 
The Story of a Dog. 

By Mrs. Perring. 
Ashgrove Farm. By Mrs. 

Aunt Margaret's Visit. 



s. d. 

I o The Angel of the Iceberg. 
By the Rev. John Todd. 

Our Poor Neighbours. 
Tales in Short Words. 

Todd's Lectures for Chil. 

Watts' Songs. 

dren. ist series. 

^Esop's Fables. 
Language and Poetry of 

Little Poems for Little 

Minnie's Legacy. 
Kitty's Victory. 
Elise and her Rabbits. 
Happy Charlie. 

Susan Gray. 
Rhymes for the Nursery. 

By Anne and Jane Taylor. 
The Babes in the Basket. 

Annie Price. 

The Three Sisters. By 

The Little Oxleys. By 

Mrs. Perring. 

Mrs. W. Denzey Burton. 

Marian Ellis. By Mrs. 

Uncle Tom's Cabin, for 



A Kiss for a Blow. 

Keeper's Travels in Search 

Robert Dawson. 

of His Master. 
Richmond's Annals of the 

The Sacred Harp : A 
Book of Sunday Poetry. 


Child's Illustrated Poetry 

Original Poems. (Complete 

Blanche and Agnes. 
The Lost ChamoisHunter. 

Lily's Home. By Mrs. Sale 
Barker. 120 Illustrations. 
Ellen and Frank. By 

The Gates Ajar. 
Mrs. Sedgwick v s Pleasant 

Mrs. Perring. 

Aunt Effie's Rhymes. With 


many new Poems. 


Fcap. 8vo, boards, is. each, with fancy covers. 

I o Riddles and Jokes. 

Acting Charades. By 

The Dream Book and 

Anne Bowman. 

Fortune Teller. 

Pippins and Pies. By 

Acting Proverbs for the 
Drawing Room. 
Fly Notes on Conjuring. 
A Shilling's- worth of Fun. 
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W. R. Snow. 

Stirling Coyne. 
Shilling Manual of Modern 
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Christmas Hamper. By 

Family Theatricals. 

Mark Lemon. 



Fcap. 8vo, gilt, is. each. 

The Red Shoes. 

The Silver Shilling. 

The Little Match-Girl. 

The Darning Needle. 

The Tinder Box. 

The Goloshes of Fortune. 

The Marsh King's 


The Wild Swans. 
Everything in its Right 


Under the Willow Tree. 
The Old Church Bell. 
The Ice Maiden. 
The Will o' the Wisp. 
Poultry Meg's Family. 
Put off is Not Done with. 
The Snow Man. 
In Sweden. 
The Snow Queen. 
Hardy Tin Soldier. 

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i o 

Each Volume contains a variety of Tales, a Frontispiece in 
colours, and an average of 16 other Pictures, engraved by the 
Brothers DALZIEL. 


With Coloured Plates, i8mo, cloth, gilt. 

Ally and her Schoolfellow. 
Loyal Charlie Bentham. 
Simple Stories for Children 
A Child's First Book. 
Story of Henrietta. 
Stories from English 


Life of Robinson Crusoe. 
Little Paul and the Moss 

Wreaths. [Songs. 

Watts' Divine and Moral 
Cobwebs to Catch Flies. 

Barbauld's Hymns in Prose, o 9 

Prince Arthur. 

A Winter's Wreath. 

Twelve Links. 

Easy Talks. 

Susan and the Doll. 

Juvenile Tales. 

Six Short Stories. 

The Captive Skylark. 

Taylor's Original Poems. 

ist Series. 
and Series. 


In 64010, 6d. each, cloth gilt, 

Language of Flowers. 
Etiquette for Gentlemen. 
Etiquette of Courtship and 

Etiquette for Ladies. 

vith Coloured Frontispiece. 

Ball Room Manual. 
Handbook of Carving. 
Toasts and Sentiments. 
How to Dress well. 

o 6 



Royal 32010, with T'ustrations. 

s . d. These are also kept in Paoei Covers, price $d. each. 

o 6 History of My Pets. Egerton Roscoe. 

Hubert Lee. Flora Mortimer. 

Ellen Leslie. 

Charles Hamilton. 

Jessie Graham. 

Story of a Drop of Water. 

Florence Arnott. 

The False Key. 

Blind Alice. The Bracelets. 

Grace and Clara. [hood. 

Waste Not, Want Not. 

Recollections of MyChild- 

Tarlton ; or, Forgive and 

Lazy Lawrence, and the ; __ For ?et. 

White Pigeon. 
The Barring Out. 

The Young Cottager. 
Parley's Thomas Titmouse. 

The Orphans and Old Poz. 

Arthur's Christmas Story. 

The Mimic. 

The Lost Lamb. 

The Purple Jar, and 

Arthur's Organ Boy. 

other Tales. 
The Birthday Present, 

Margaret Jones. 
The Two School Girls. 

and the Basket Woman. 
Simple Susan. 
The Little Merchants. 
Tale of the Universe. 

Widow and her Daughter. 
The Rose in the Desert. 
The Little Black Hen. 
Martha and Rachel. 

Kate Campbell. 
Basket of Flowers. 
Babes in the Basket. 
The Jewish Twins. 
Children on the Plains. 

The Carpenter's Daughter. 
The Prince in Disguise. 
Gertrude and her Bible. 
The Contrast. By Miss 

Little Henry and his 

The Grateful Negro. By 

Learning better than 
Houses and Lands. 
Maud's First Visit to her 

Miss Edgeworth. 
Jane Hudson. 
Lina and her Cousins. 
Bright-Eyed Bessie. 

Easy Poems. Plain edges. 
The Boy Captive. By 
Peter Parley. 
, Stories of Child Life. 

The Last Penny. 
A Kiss for a Blow. 
The Gates Ajar. Plain edges 
Sunday School Reader. 

The Dairyman's Daughter 
Arthur's Tales for the 

Robert Dawson. 
Hearty Staves. [Wealth. 


Contentment better than 

Hawthorne's Gentle Boy. 

Robinson Crusoe. 

Pleasant and Profitable. 
Parley's Poetry and Prose. 

Patient Working no Loss. 
No such Word as Fail. 

IBook about Boys. [B OJ 's. 
Arthur's Stories for Little 

Edward Howard. [Girls. 
Arthur's Stories for Little 




Fcap. 8vo, with Coloured Plat< 
Sweet Violets. 
White Daisy. 
Only a Primrose. 
Forget Me Not. 
The School Friends. 
The Brothers. 
Alone on an Island. 
The Ivory Traders. 
Old Speedwell. 
The Deadly Nightshade. 
The Iris. 

Ragged Robin. 
Jessie and Hessie. 
An Artist's Holiday. 
Treasure Trove. 
Poor Pearl. 

The White Rosebud. 
Turn of the Tide. 
Jolly Miller. 

:s, 3d.; or bound in cloth, 6d. 
Raynham's Curse. o 3 

Bye and Bye. 
Thorns and Roses. 
Wild Rose and Poppies. 
Tulip and Holly. 
Orange Blossoms and 

Heart'sease and Lily of 

the Valley. 
Snowdrop, and other 


Broom, and other Tales. 
Blue Bell, and other 

Traveller's Joy, and 

other Tales. 
Sunday Evenings 

Home, ist Evening. 

2nd Evening. 

3rd Evening. 

4th Evening. 

5 th Evening. 

6th Evening. 


7th Evening. 

8th Evening. 

gth Evening. 
loth Evening. 


For List, see Sixpenny Juveniles, on page 26. 


Each Illustrated with 125 Woodcuts by JOHN GILBERT, HARRISON 
WEIR, and others. Crown 8vo, sewed, in fancy covers, 6<t. each. 

Things In-doors.. 
What we Eat -xnd Drink. 
Animals and then Uses. 
Birds and Birds Nests. 
Fishes, Butterflies, and 

Trees, Shrubs, and 


City Scenes. 
Rural Scenes. 
Country Employments. 
How Things are made. 
Soldiers and Sailors. 
Science and Art. 
Geography and Costume. 





Each with Eight Coloured Plates by KRONHEIM, in Packets only, 

containing the 12 sorts, IS. 
s. a. 

I o A, Apple Pie. 
The Three Bears. 
Nursery Songs. 
My Mother. 
This Little Pig. 
Farmyard A 


ack the Giant Killer. 

Jack tl 

The Cats' Tea Party. 

The Dogs' Dinner 


Nursery Rhymes. 
Robin Redbreast. 

Red Riding Hood. 

The following vols. are formed from tJte above : 

i o A, Apple Pie, and other Nursery Tales. With 48 

Pictures, boards. 
I 6 Cloth., 

i o The Robin Redbreast Picture Book. Boards. 

1 6 Cloth. 

2 o Jack the Giant Killer Picture Book. With 96 Pic- 

tures, board?. 

2 6 Cloth. 


With Coloured Pictures by LEIGHTON Brothers, in covers, per doz. 2s. 

My Mother. 
Nursery Rhymes. 
Our Pets. 

Jack the Giant Killer. 
Railway ABC. 
Punch and Judy. 
Red Riding Hood. 

Mother Hubbard. 

Also, in One Vol. 

i 6 The Punch and Judy Picture Book. With 36 

Coloured Plates, cloth boards, 2*. 



In fancy covers, with Pictures printed in Colours ; 
or printed on Linen, 6d. 

My First Alphabet. 
Old Mother Goose. 
Babes in the Wood. 
This Little Pig went to 

The Old Woman who 

Lived in a Shoe. 

Little Bo-peep. 
Nursery Rhymes. 
Farmyard Alphabet. 
Jack and the Beanstalk 
John Gilpin. 
Old Mother Hubbard. 
Three Bears. 

The Dogs' Dinner Party, d 3 

My Mother. 

The Cats' Tea Party. 

More Nursery Rhymes. 

Robin Redbreast. 

A, Apple Pie. 

Railroad ABC. 

Nursery Songs. 

Nursery Ditties,. 

Punch and Judy. 

Our Pets. 

Puss in Boots. 

Little Red Riding Hcod. 

Wild Animals. 

The House that Jack Built. | 

J Tame Animals. 



Beautifully printed in Colours by Messrs. LEIGHTON Brothers, 


EVANS. In super-royal Svo, Fancy Wrappers. 

Bible Alphabet. 

Nursery Alphabet. 

Little Totty. 

Puck and Pea-Blossom. 

Old W T oman and her Pig. 

A, Apple Pie. 

Tom Thumb's Alphabet. 

Picture Alphabet. 

Arthur's Alphabet. 

Railroad Alphabet. 

Alphabet for Good Boys 

and Girls. 

The Seaside Alphabet. 

The Enraged Miller. o 6 

The Hunchback. 
How Jessie was Lost. 
Grammar in Rhyme. 

* Baby's Birthday. 

* Pictures from the Streets. 

* Lost on the Sea-Shore. 

* Animals and Birds. 

A Child's Fancy Dress 


A Child's Evening Party. 
Annie and Jack in London. 
One, Two, BucklemyShoe. 



s. d. 

* Greedy Jem and his Little | * Mary's New Doll. 


* When the Cat's Away. 

The Farm Yard Alpha- 

* Naughty Puppy. 


* Children's Favourites. 

Hop o' my Thumb. 
Beauty and the Beast. 
Mother Hubbard. 
* Happy Days of Childhood. 

Little Minnie's Child Life. 
King Nutcracker. 
King Grisly Beard. 

Little Dog Trusty. 
The Cats' Tea Party. 

The Fairy Ship. 
Adventures of Puffy. 

Wild Animals. 

This Little Pig went to 

British Animals. 


* The Frog who would a- 
Wooing Go. 

King Luckieboy's Party. 

* The Faithless Parrot. 

Noah's Ark Alphabet. 

* The Farm Yard. 

Domestic Pets. 

Old Dame Trot, 
Sing a Song of Sixpence. 
The Waddling Frog. 

Nursery Rhymes. 
My Mother. 
The Forty Thieves. 
The Three Bears. 

The Old Courtier. 


Multiplication Table. 

Valentine and Orson. 

Chattering Jack. 

Puss in Boots. 

King Cole. 
Prince Long Nose. 

Old Mother Hubbard. 
The Absurd ABC. 

All the above can be had Mounted on Linen, price is., except 

those marked *. 


With large Original Illustrations by H. S. MARKS, J. D. WATSON, 
HARRISON WEIR, and KEYL, beautifully printed in Colours. 

Demy 4to, in stiff wrapper ; or Mounted on Linen, zs. 

I o Nursery Rhymes. 

The Cats' Tea Party. 

Alphabet of Trades. 


* Cinderella. 
Old Testament Alphabet. 

Peacock at Home. 

The Three Little Kittens. 

Sleeping Beauty. 

The History of Five Little 

The Toy Primer. 


The Pet Lamb. 

Tom Thumb's Alphabet. 
Nursery Songs. 

The Fair One with the 
Golden Locks. 

? "f